Planet Rugby

Pumas leave Ireland blank in Buenos Aires

02nd June 2007 22:04

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Argentina secured a 2-0 Test series win over Ireland with a hard-fought 16-0 win in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

It was an ugly, ugly match, full of errors and appalling scrummaging, but Ireland's Jeremy Staunton will be angry at his three penalty misses which left Ireland chasing a game they could have had in the bag before half-time.

The Irish generally will be angry at the officiating of the scrum by rerferee Kelvin Deaker, after a series of scrums collapsed near the Argentina line just before the break without so much as an admonishment from the official.

It was a sloppy match. If you were an Argentinian you would probably be pleased that this team called the Pumas beat that team called Ireland, but you would probably have found little other reason for rejoicing.

If you were Irish you were probably glad it was over and have consoled your self by telling yourself that that team would not be playing at the world cup.

There was little to recommend the match in which the most attractive part was the new strip the Pumas wore - sill sky blue and white as General Belgrano decreed but slightly adapted and with changed fabric, and attractive jersey.

The football club's field was not attractive, in fact scruffy. It looked threadbare and the high fencing did nothing to make it attractive.

The wind did not help matters, blowing in Ireland's favour in the first half.

The scrumming was sloppy.

Near the end of the first half Ireland actually got over the Pumas' line but Bryan Young was held up. That produced a five-metre scrum to Ireland. For the next five minutes the sequence of events was - scrum, reset, free kick, scrum, reset, reset, penalty scrum, reset, penalty scrum reset, reset. Seven times the scrum collapsed. It all took from 32 minutes 54 seconds to 37 minutes 55 seconds. That is not enthralling.

The line-outs were untidy and the handling iffish and the best way to the goal-line seemed to be across the field.

Jeremy Staunton broke and got close to the line where Hernán Senillosa felled him. That set up the five-minute scrumming session. At the end Manuel Contepomi beat three defenders in close quarters by spinning rather than running as he scored the only try of the match with 80 minutes up on the clock. (The clock just stopped on 80 minutes and then let the injury time drift on.)

Ireland looked threatening in the first half when combative Alan Quinlan charged down a clearing kick by Federico Todeschini and then gathered the awkward bounce but the opportunity was scuppered by poor handling as it was in a multiphased Irish attack. This attack lasted a long time but was sterile.

They could have had points if Staunton had kicked better. He missed three kicks at goal, none of them all that difficult and the middle one positively easy.

The three penalties kicked by Todeschini were all from tackle infringements - two in the first half when Frankie Sheahan and Alan Quinlan went in the side and then when Shane Jennings went in the side. That gave the Pumas a 6-0 lead at the break with the wind to come.

In the second half Quinlan was again penalised at a tackle and Todeschini, who had just missed a kick at goal, goaled this one to make it 9-0 after 56 minutes.

The match stumbled on till near the end when the Pumas pinned Ireland down in their right-hand corner. They had two five-metre line-outs and two five-metre scrums and then Contepomi whirled over for the try. This delighted the crowd who threw many seat covers down onto the field in appreciation. Todeschini converted from near the touch-line from the midst of seat covers which were blowing about.

Man of the Match: Its not at all easy but little Horacio Agulla, who started instead of Nicolás Fernández Miranda, may just have been the player most skilled in his position on the field.

Moment of the Match: Hernán Senillosa's tackle on Jeremy Staunton.

Villain of the Match: All was not loving and tender but the irascible bits were small, provided by Alan Quinlan and Esteban Lozada, but their actions scarcely qualified as villainy.

the scorers:

For Argentina:

Try: Contempomi

Con: Todeschini

Pens: Todeschini 3

Argentina: 15 Federico Serra, 14 Tomás De Vedia, 13 Hernán Senillosa, 12 Manuel Contepomi, 11 Francisco Leonelli, 10 Federico Todeschini, 9 Horacio Agulla, 8 Juan Fernández Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Martín Durand (captain), 5 Rimas Álvarez Kairelis, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Santiago González Bonorino, 2 Pablo Gambarini, 1 Marcos Ayerza

Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guiñazú, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Pablo Bouza, 19 Martín Schusterman, 20 Nicolás Vergallo, 21 Juan Fernández Miranda, 22 Horacio Agulla

Ireland: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Brian Carney, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Gavin Duffy, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Eoin Reddan 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Simon Best (captain), 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Bryan Young

Replacements: 16 Bernard Jackman, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 Malcolm O'Kelly, 19 Neil Best, 20 Isaac Boss, 21 Kieran Lewis, 22 Luke Fitzgerald

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand), Phillip Bosch (South Africa)

Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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