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Ireland 20-43 Argentina: Fired-up Rory Best gave it his all against the Pumas

By Michael Sadlier

Not for the first time, it was Rory Best who led Ulster's representation in green on what, as things turned out, will likely be his last outing at a World Cup.

So much rested on Best with an added leadership role against the Pumas that you couldn't have been surprised if his impact had been more diluted than usual.

But Best wasn't found wanting and, time and again, it was his scrum cap that was seen trying to disrupt Argentina at the breakdown or hit Ireland's own rucks with aggression to try and win go-forward ball.

His securing of a turnover in the 54th minute - when Ireland only trailed 23-20 - was a typical example of his work and his removal 11 minutes later, with Ireland now six points down, had to be down to running out of steam.

So much focus was on Iain Henderson that it was rather odd that the 23-year-old rising star did not have the impact that had been hoped for.

There were fewer prominent carries than had surely been the intention, though Henderson did rip the ball from Santiago Cordero's grasp to secure a turnover. He looked shot well before the end - had he picked up a knock? - and was removed with 10 minutes left.

Chris Henry also had to have the game of his life in place of the suspended Sean O'Brien. And though he performed his job with some typical hard grafting at the breakdown, Ireland needed so much more.

O'Brien's presence was sorely missed and, when in possession, Henry seemed to largely operate as a midfield conduit which didn't really work.

And what of Tommy Bowe? Like Best, he likely won't be seen at a World Cup again and it ended much earlier than that of his team-mates with a knee injury, which saw him carted off. It could have a serious impact on his season.

As for Paddy Jackson, the 23-year-old saw no game-time on a horrible day for Irish rugby.

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