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My late call up a whirlwind but I was fully focused, says proud Addison

Ireland 28 Argentina 17

Full throttle: Will Addison driving forward
Full throttle: Will Addison driving forward
Jordan Larmour evades two Argentine tackles
Jacob Stockdale attempts to run past a tackle from Nicolas Sanchez
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Aware he was starting only 20 minutes or so before kick-off, Ulster's Will Addison didn't quite have the time to get his cheering section in place for his first Test game in Dublin on Saturday.

Ireland were already halfway through their warm-up when Robbie Henshaw tweaked his hamstring, leaving for the former Sale man in Joe Schmidt's midfield.

Even though they couldn't be there in person, it was an emotional day for his family, who had been on hand to witness his debut against Italy in Chicago a week prior, especially his Fermanagh-born mother.

"I was pretty much just in tears to my mum just there," he revealed after the game. "They sadly couldn't come over this time with it being a spur of the moment selection but I'm lucky that I had my girlfriend here, which was great.

"I have been on the phone to the parents and the family and I was full of emotion. That surprise selection luckily kind of took out that emotion and let me concentrate on the task. Certainly, after the game, it filled me with absolute pride.

"It was a bit of a whirlwind so I wouldn't remember the exact minute but it was probably about 20-minutes before (kickoff). I went through the second half of the warm-up phase which was really good in terms of helping me bed into the game.

"The preparation that you do during the week really prepares everyone in the squad whether you involved or not; everyone knows their role extremely well.

The attention to detail and pressure of having done your homework is a famed aspect of Ireland camps under Joe Schmidt, with Addison believing such preparation was a massive help when handed his most unexpected of starts.

"It's certainly an eye opener but I don't think I would have coped today without that amount of pressure that we have week in week out. The pressure is really on us to know our role and understand what our role requires.

"When I get thrown in at the deep end that's what I fall back to. I know that I have coped in training which is a very high intensity and that gives me the confidence that I can cope at international level too."

"The last few months has helped, having a few days in camp in Australia (during the summer) gave me a taste for the environment and then I had a weekend in August.

"Then the last week has been great especially being away in Chicago with the group has really pushed me and made sure that I am really aware of what's required. I have really enjoyed the last few weeks."

This was hardly a vintage performance from Schmidt's Ireland, a team held to a decidedly higher standard than any of their predecessors.

Argentina targeted their line-out, both in their selection and during the game, while in attack ten turnovers were in contrast to only a solitary line-break.

There were still three tries -Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki and Luke McGrath all crossed the whitewash - and rust was a passable excuse given that Ireland's front-line selection haven't taken the field together since the third Test against Australia back in June.

Addison was one who did impress, so too Aki, James Ryan and the host's scrum.

In what was only his second Test, and two months after his Ulster debut, the 26-year-old thinks there is still more he can offer.

"I wasn't totally happy with my performance at times and I wouldn't look at excuses like that (not having run much in the 13 role)," he said.

"The challenge I have been set is to know a few roles in the team and I have really enjoyed that but there is no stone left unturned during training for me to be fully prepared for the weekend.

"I have probably got to look at myself. I really enjoy 13 and it's probably where I prefer playing but I have really enjoyed my rugby at 15 for Ulster.

"I have got to be adept at both positions and I feel that I have taken a step today but I have got a lot to improve on.

"I think there is a little bit defensively that I am not happy with. I love defending it is one of my favourite parts of the game.

"Set-piece wise you come up against a new challenge in international rugby. It is probably one of those things that has taken me back, the challenge at set piece and during phase play, that when you take someone defensively it is something I really need to work closely with Faz (defence coach, Andy Farrell) on because he is thereabouts the best defensive coach in the world. I am very fortunate to have that resource available to me."

He also reserved special mention for his provincial defence coach Jared Payne. While it was another Irish 13 who was Addison's hero growing up, his more immediate predecessor is perhaps a more apt comparison. Payne was a famed defensive organiser in the midfield channel under Schmidt as well as having the versatility to play full-back at a high level.

"I keep reiterating that I've got Jared Payne as my mentor at my club who was renowned for his defensive abilities," he added.

"I've got him mentoring me week in week out. Coming into camp it makes it that bit easier that I have got those systems in my mind. He worked closely with Faz during the summer so I kind of had a head start thanks to working with JP."

Up next, of course, are the back-to-back World Champions, the only side ranked ahead of Ireland - The All Blacks are in Dublin on Saturday.

"The best team in the world are coming to town," said Addison. "Everybody will be putting up their hand in training and that's going to be pretty tasty."

Ireland 28

Argentina 17

at the Aviva Stadium

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