Ireland made it 10 home Test wins in a row for the first time in their history with a 28-17 win over Argentina in Dublin. It did come at a cost with another injury for back row Sean O’Brien. Nathaniel Cope was at the Aviva Stadium for RugbyPass and rated the performances of the Irish players.
15. Jordan Larmour 6
After a three-try showing in Chicago, Larmour was given another shot at the 15 jersey in Rob Kearney’s absence. Penalised for holding on in the 3rd minute which led to Nicolas Sanchez’ early penalty. He didn’t look convincing under the high ball, in the 29th minute neither he or Keith Earls dealt with a ball into the in-goal area, but Ireland got away with it. Larmour also spilled a high ball in the 44th minute on the halfway line. Aerial ability is one of Kearney’s strengths and this dependability will see him selected for the All Blacks clash if he’s fit. Larmour’s ability with ball in hand is without question, one example being when he sidestepped three players in heavy traffic midway through the first half.
14. Keith Earls 6
Part of the mix-up with Larmour in the 29th minute. Didn’t get the ball in his hands, with only two carries all game.
13. Will Addison 6
Robbie Henshaw’s tight hamstring meant Addison was thrown in for his first Test start having come off the bench against Italy last week. He and Aki were caught out by Mattias Orlando’s break in the lead up to Bautista Delguy’s 16th minute try, but defensive blips are natural considering the late centre alteration. Showed good awareness and a step in the 63rd minute to evade Matias Moroni when dealing with a loose ball and then linking up with Larmour.
12. Bundee Aki 8
An abrasive carrier and looked Ireland’s biggest threat offensively, took his 24th minute try well and after turnover from a dominant Irish scrum. A blip was his late tackle on Nicolas Sanchez which gave Argentina a shot at goal to make it 14-12 to Argentina. Went down clutching his leg late on, but bounced back up eventually.
11. Jacob Stockdale 6
A 16th minute knock on from an aerial ball, but he did take another late on. it’s an area that still needs work. Didn’t get an opportunity in space to showcase his electric pace.
10. Johnny Sexton 6
His kicking accuracy out of hand was uncharacteristically shoddy, there was a poor crossfield kick in 22nd minute when Ireland had penalty advantage deep in Argentine territory. Another in the 41st minute to give away possession on the halfway and four minutes later an overcooked kick went into the deadball zone after Dan Leavy had won a turnover. Missed a few shots at goal too. Will be desperate for vast improvement next week with fellow 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year contender, Beauden Barrett, opposite him.
9. Kieran Marmion 8
With Conor Murray “highly unlikely” to feature against the All Blacks, according to Joe Schmidt Kieran Marmion had his chance to stake his claim. He had a lively performance scoring a 9th minute try off the back of a dominant scrum, his fourth for Ireland. He also did well to offload after being clattered by Tomas Lavanini for Aki’s try. Rolled his ankle before the hour mark, but should be fit for next weekend.
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Watch: Joe Schmidt on O’Brien, Murray and All Blacks
1. Cian Healy 6
Often one of Ireland’s go-to men when it comes to carrying, but that wasn’t the case against Argentina. Irish front row had the upper hand at scrum time though. Substituted in the 53rd minute for Jack McGrath.
2. Rory Best 6
The Irish captain’s first international since clinching the Six Nations, having missed the June tour to Australia with injury and left at home for last week’s win over Italy. Put under pressure at lineout time with Ireland losing three lineouts during the match.
4. Iain Henderson 6
Tadhg Beirne wasn’t in the 23-man squad, and Joe Schmidt mentioned in the build-up that Henderson needed a big game. But this was not one of his better performances in an Ireland shirt, illustrated by two spilled restarts after Ireland’s two tries. Did get through his fair share of work defensively with 10 tackles. Replaced just before the hour by Devin Toner.
5. James Ryan 8
Awarded man of the match and his usual industrious self in the loose with a strong carrying threat, topping the charts with 12 carries. Ireland’s top tackler too, with 13.
6. Peter O’Mahony 8
Made a couple of key interventions at crucial points, a lineout steal five metres out from the Argentine line in the 64th minute, which almost led to a try for Dan Leavy under the posts. Ireland did eventually score a try two minutes later after incessant pressure. O’Mahony also emerged with the ball from an Argentine maul in the 78th minute as the Pumas chased the game and it led to a territory swing of 70 plus metres and effectively ended the game in the process.
7. Sean O’Brien 6
His first match for Ireland since November last year and the unfortunate Leinster flanker faces another stint on the sidelines coming off in the 38th minute with a broken right arm, ruling him out for the rest of Ireland’s November campaign. Schmidt said O’Brien was “just getting into the rhythm” when he picked up his latest injury. A Six Nations return is the target with Schmidt saying post-match that O’Brien was “already thinking about his rehab”.
8. CJ Stander 6
The number eight didn’t have one of his more rampaging days, five carries yielded 23 metres and chipped in with 11 tackles.
16. Sean Cronin 6
Came on in the 59th minute, did all that was required of him.
17. Jack McGrath 6
A 53rd minute replacement for Healy, made a few carries, did his part of the bargain at scrum-time too.
18 Andrew Porter 6
Came on for Furlong, scrum continued to have the upper hand.
20. Dan Leavy 8
A 38th minute sub for the injured Sean O’Brien. 6 carries and made 37 metres. Unlucky not to have scored a try under the posts in the 64th minute. Industrious at the breakdown as ever with two turnovers. His only blemish was when he gave away a penalty in the 42nd minute which led to Argentina retaking a 17-15 lead.
21. Luke McGrath 7
Came on for the injured Marmion and did well. Broke off the back of another solid scrum, nipping inside Pablo Matera to score a try in the 65th minute, it was his second try in 7 internationals. Likely to have to settle for a place on the bench again next week however.
22. Joey Carbery n/a
Came on with the game won, not a sufficient amount of game-time to rate.
23. Andrew Conway n/a
A very late introduction for Bundee Aki.
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