'Ireland were the best team in every facet of the game'


Seeking reaction from Argentinians who were so horribly inept is heavy work. However, there must be sympathy for long-serving Pumas like their captain Juan Martín Fernánandez Lobbe. Too many team-mates lacked heart, or even attention to the basics required for Test standard rugby, making the Toulon flanker look uncharacteristically average.

He is anything but.

Proof finally came as the clock ticked red. There was Lobbe, salvaging pride in his beloved blue and white jersey by battering over for Argentina’s second try. He remains the example. The jersey is what those who showed their faces afterwards spoke about.

Pride in it. Respect for it. Hollow words and they all knew it.

They must learn from the example set by their now annual opponents. Belief in the power of the Springbok or Wallaby crests are why South African or Australian sides, ravaged by injury, will still force northern hemisphere teams through a hellish 80 minutes.

Even in November.

Painful introduction

Argentina’s performance was a painful introduction to a brand new mental deficiency.

“We always pride ourselves on being the underdogs, always having more hunger, more physicality and taking the initiative in every contact, in every carry,” said Marcos Ayzera. “I think today Ireland were the best team in every facet of the game.”

Argentina have played 12 games in 2012 and this was Test match number three in their southern hemisphere summer. They desperately needed to go home or, at least, back to the day job.

“We let them play with the ball,” said Phelan, who went on, but that sentence was all that mattered. Argentina are famous for denying teams such luxury.

There was no bite, no Rodrigo Roncero or Mario Ledesma to to cause trouble. It took an hour before we witnessed any face scrapping.

All very un-Argentinian.

“We didn’t have the ball,” Phelan continued. “When we did we made so many mistakes. We lost the breakdown, the contact. We let them play and they did it very well.”

They let Ireland play. Blasphemous behaviour for an Argentinian rugby team. Weariness is offered to them as an excuse. They, admirably, refused to chow down on the juicy bait. “We got over played in every aspect,” said Lobbe.

The sin binning of Maximiliano Bustos? “A guy having his first cap, I imagine he throws the ball in someone’s face because something happened, but that’s no excuse. That’s something we cannot do . . . it was deserved.”

Some embarrassingly unprofessional questions followed. Bottom line? One game too many. Ireland understand that better than most.

Here lies a damp squib. Move along.

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