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Rugby | International Rugby

Jonathan Sexton © Gallo Images

Ireland overpower poor Argentina



Ireland earned a straightforward 29-9 win over Argentina on Sunday as tries by Stephen Ferris and Gordon D'Arcy and the goalkicking of Jonathan Sexton maintained their unbeaten home record against the Pumas.

The victory ensured Ireland's autumn series was split 2-2, with defeats by New Zealand and South Africa offset by wins over Samoa and Argentina, although even in Sunday's triumph the hosts struggled for fluidity.

Argentina, who had some notable absentees through injury, were unrecognisable from the team that reached the 2007 World Cup semifinals, when they beat Ireland en route.

The Pumas beat Italy and lost to France in their previous tour matches, and appear to have real problems less than a year out from the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

On a freezing Dublin afternoon, the game at the Aviva Stadium began in a flat atmosphere and failed to improve.

Sexton, who delivered another strong allround flyhalf display, opened up the Pumas' defence early on with a clever change of direction to send Tommy Bowe into space. Jamie Heaslip then fed Ferris to score.

Sexton converted and also landed four penalties – compared to one by Felipe Contepomi – to give Ireland a 19-3 halftime lead.

Further penalties made it 22-9 before the hosts came to life in the final moments.

Replacement back Keith Earls thought he had successfully touched down after chasing a Ronan O'Gara chip, only for the video referee to inexplicably rule that he knocked on.

The Irish fans were able celebrate another try, however, as D'Arcy caught his own chip to score in stoppage time.

"I thought we were good and positive in the first half and when we had the ball we played very well," Ireland coach Declan Kidney told the BBC.

"There are loads of areas we need to look at ... we are far from the finished product.

"There is a lot more work to do but we're delighted with the win, and it will put us in good stead going forward to the Six Nations."

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