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Ireland maul Pumas


Stephen Ferris

Stephen Ferris

Stephen Ferris

Ireland concluded their autumn series with an ugly 29-9 victory over one-dimensional Argentina amid sub-zero temperatures at Aviva Stadium.

Jonathan Sexton's kicking underpinned only Ireland's second win from four Tests this month, finishing with five penalties and a conversion.

Ireland scored a try in each half through flanker Stephen Ferris, who passed a fitness test on his ankle injury on Saturday, and centre Gordon D'Arcy. But poor decision making and aimless kicking halted their momentum and played into the hands of the Pumas, who scored all of their points through the boot of Felipe Contepomi.

A scrappy passage of play ended with a penalty from Sexton and Argentina were showing little imagination in attack.

In contrast, Ireland were far more ambitious and in the 21st minute they breached Argentina's line. Winger Tommy Bowe drew in Contepomi to create the initial gap before offloading to man of the match Jamie Heaslip, who supplied back-row colleague Ferris with the scoring pass. Sexton added the extras.

A rampaging run from Cian Healy down the right sent the Pumas into retreat and reward came shortly after when Sexton landed his penalty.

Contepomi hit the target after Donncha O'Callaghan was caught offside but it was only a brief lull as Sexton struck another two penalties before the end of the half.

Argentina were finally showing signs of life, however, and they entered the last quarter trailing 19-6 after Contepomi booted three points. But any faint hopes the Pumas had of staging a meaningful comeback faded when Sexton again found the target.

The monotonous penalty duel continued when Contepomi replied with his third successful shot at goal.

Seconds remained when Keith Earls had a try ruled out by the television match official, but D'Arcy succeeded in injury time when he collected his own chip to touch down and Ronan O'Gara converted.