Man-of-the-match Jamie Heaslip tried hard to put a positive spin on Ireland’s 29-9 victory over Argentina yesterday.
Few would disagree with the Leinster No 8’s entitlement to the award; he got through a phenomenal amount of work which included getting down to thwart Pumas prop Rodrigo Roncero in the opening 10 minutes when the visitors laid siege to the Irish goal line.
He then provided the pass which put back row colleague, Ulster’s Stephen Ferris, in for the first of Ireland’s two tries. Many, however, would question Heaslip’s post-match assessment that “on the whole we kind of stuck to the plan that we had and it paid off.”
The mood among the overwhelming majority of the 30,000 who endured bitter cold and largely uninspiring rugby was that Ireland had not been impressive.
Heaslip’s take was: “We knew what Argentina were going to do — they were going to close down space. We probably had too many turn-overs, which we didn’t want, but we’ll look at that.”
He said Ferris’ try was in keeping with the sort of rugby Ireland are aiming to serve up.
“That’s the pattern we want. We wanted to bring them across the pitch, work through the middle and put a bit of width on it. We caught them out and Stephen went in well,” said Heaslip.
Highlighting the fact that Argentina are one of the best scrummaging sides in world rugby Heaslip added: “We knew they would target the scrum. We have been taking a lot of flak and we held out well in the first 10 minutes when they had us on our own line.”
Reflecting on what had happened in the second-half when, having led 19-3, Ireland appeared to switch off, he said: “I think we went a bit loose and it became a Sevens type of game with the ball spilling and being thrown around.”