Mixed performance but Madigan and Ruddock impress
Leinster outhalf has rediscovered his knack for geting in for tries in tight games
With only one score between Ireland and Argentina when he came on with 15 minutes to go in the second and final Test of the series, Ian Madigan produced his trademark magic to get in for a vital try under the posts. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
A mixed bag of a performance and, rather summing up something of a no-win end-of-season tour containing two long treks and four internal travel days in a fortnight, there were mixed results individually too.
Rhys Ruddock left an indelible impression with on his first Test start, and Simon Zebo made significant strides from a low base, while it was encouraging to see Ian Madigan grasp the game in his own inimitable style.
Joe Schmidt had spoken beforehand of not , ideally, wanting to finish the game with a half-back combination of Kieran Marmion and Madigan, certainly not a taut endgame with the result in the balance.
After Conor Murray was ruled out with a dead leg, this prospect came increasingly into focus when Johnny Sexton suffered concussion and Madigan was brought on with 15 minutes to go and with one score between the sides.
When Madigan soon compounded a missed penalty by Sexton with one of his own, the game remained in the balance as Paul O’Connell opted to turn turned down a three-pointer for the third time in the match by going for the corner.
There was a renewed intent about Ireland as they went through umpteen phases but the crowd’s chanting was growing in volume as the Pumas kept repelling the green charges, until Madigan showed and broke one tackle before skipping past Tomás Cubelli to score under the posts.
Following on from his match-winning try against Ulster in the Pro12 semi-finals, Madigan has re-discovered his exceptional knack for scoring tries with his first for Ireland in addition to 20 for Leinster. <QA0>
“I think when things aren’t going well for you, you revert back to type. I had a good chat with Isa Nacewa about six weeks ago and he just kind of re - assured me of what I was good at. I’ve just tried to go back to that, and one of my strengths is showing and going with the ball, and beating people one-on-one with feet, and it’s worked well for me over the last weeks.”
Recounting the score itself, Madigan said: “We were on their line. Their goal-line “D” was really excellent throughout the game, and they were coming off really hard off the line, so I think when a team is doing that to have lateral movement makes it harder for them to defend, and I tried to get Zebo in on a trail and I knew if I had a danger man like him running at the back of me, he’d be a good man at dragging defenders and luckily that created a one-on-one . Luckily that created a one-on-one for me and I was managed to slip through.”