Dublin - Ireland scored seven tries in a 46-24 demolition of Argentina on
Saturday to ensure they will be seeded when the draw is made for the
next rugby World Cup and leave the South Americans waiting to find out
if they will join them.
Ireland had to win the match, billed as
the most important one either side would likely play this side of the
2015 tournament, to book a place in the second tier of seeds for the
December 3 draw and four tries in a blistering first half got them on their
Debutant wing Craig Gilroy got a first international try, as
did the recently blooded Simon Zebo and Richardt Strauss while Jonathan
Sexton and Tommy Bowe got a brace each to maintain Ireland's unbeaten
home record against Argentina.
Argentina, who got two late
consolation tries, will slip out of the world's top eight and face a
potentially tougher World Cup pool draw if Samoa beat France later on
Saturday and Wales defeat either New Zealand or Australia this weekend
If the in-form Samoans lose by fewer than 15 points,
they will tie with Argentina on 78.71 ranking points, with the
higher-placed team determined by the next decimal place.
Argentina, who beat Six Nations champions Wales 26-12 two weeks ago to
put them in the better position going into the game, simply had no
answer for a rampant Irish side who put five successive defeats behind
them in the best possible fashion.
Missing first-team regulars
Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney, Paul O'Connell, Stephen Ferris, Sean
O'Brien and Rory Best, Declan Kidney gave Ulster's Gilroy a first start
and the 21-year-old flyer inspired the hosts to victory.
winger, who scored a hat trick in a non-cap win over Fiji last week,
started his full international career with a bang as he jinked past one
Argentine tackler and between another two before touching down and being
mobbed by team mates.
Sexton, whose slick inside pass had set
Gilroy free, added the conversion and, while Nicolas Sanchez got back
three points for the visitors, Ireland were back under the posts within
Gilroy, not yet an established starter at provincial
level with Ulster, was involved again and more free-flowing rugby from
the hosts culminated in Sexton exchanging passes with Leinster team mate
Gordon D'Arcy before crashing over.
Sanchez was once more gifted
a chance to trim the advantage but Ireland, who had managed only two
tries in their previous five games, made it three in 20 minutes when
Strauss sneaked into the corner for his first try in his second Irish
Argentina finally made it deep into Irish territory on the
half-hour and were unlucky to come away with just three points but
Ireland were at it again from the restart with Munster fullback Zebo
joining the list of maiden try scorers.
Sexton missed his second
conversion in a row but Sanchez was off target too with a penalty a few
minutes later to leave Ireland a comfortable 24-9 in front at the
The flyhalves traded penalties in the opening minutes of
the second half before the ever-commanding Sexton spotted a gap behind
the Argentine back three for Ulster wing Bowe to speed through for his
first try of the game.
Sexton's mixed day with the boot
continued but he more than made up for it with a second try three
minutes later as Ireland finally began to produce the kind of attacking
rugby that has seen Leinster dominate the European club game.
game, the 11th between the sides in 14 years, petered out in the last
quarter with the main highlight being Argentina prop Maximiliano
Bustos's sin-binning for throwing the ball in Cian Healy's face until
Bowe grabbed his 26th try for Ireland.
Replacement Tomas Leonardi
and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe grabbed late tries for Argentina whose
minds now shift to events in Paris and Cardiff later on Saturday.