Ireland beat Argentina 53-7 in the third game of the Autumn Nations Series.
Joey Carbery was the star for Ireland against Argentina.
He excelled at out-half and at fullback while kicking a (near) perfect game. The Munster player has solidified his status as Ireland's second-choice out half and assured everyone that so long as he's healthy, Ireland have no concerns about Jonathan Sexton's successor.
Argentina opened the scoring when Mateo Carreras cut inside Tadhg Beirne on the wing to touch down. It was a bad try to concede. Ireland's defensive line crowded inside as Argentina's numbers went wide. Just one offload was required to expose the Ireland defence.
But that was pretty much it for the Argentinians.
Josh van der Flier scored off a rolling maul. Andrew Porter scored under the posts from close range. Caelan Doris bounced off of Pablo Matera for Ireland's third try before halftime. It was 24-7 at that point. Ireland were in control and despite some moments of threat, Argentina were easily brushed aside.
It proved to be a straightforward, largely forgettable game.
Here are the Ireland player ratings.
15. Hugo Keenan (subbed off 50') - 7
Hugo Keenan finally put a foot wrong. He gave away a lineout during the first half and missed a high ball, but he was probably just picking a good point to prove he's human. Keenan showed ambition running the ball back and made the right decision every time he was in possession. His consistency is scary.
14. Robert Baloucoune - 6
Ireland fans anticipated a dominant display after last week's win over New Zealand, but they didn't get it. So Robert Baloucoune was made to wait for his first real involvement. It came after a half-hour when he found space on the right-wing in the Argentina half. Baloucoune was caught before he could take advantage of the space he was put in.
Baloucoune played with a timidness without the ball. He was thinking before acting rather than just acting. The difference in intensity between him and James Lowe was evident throughout.
He did very little in defence. He didn't need to. It wasn't until midway through the second half did he have to make a one-on-one tackle in space against his opposing winger. He was easily beaten.
13. Garry Ringrose - 7
It wasn't an open game from the start so Garry Ringrose had to wait for his opportunity to make an impact. He took it when it came. Ringrose combined with James Lowe in the outside channell. First he drew the defence in to release Lowe outside, then followed up to get the offload. Conor Murray trailed inside of him, so Ringrose had an option to hit and continue into the 22. They didn't score directly off that move but that move set up the phase that led to Andrew Porter's try.
12. Robbie Henshaw - 6.5 (subbed off 66')
The Leinster centre returned from a long spell on the sidelines and it showed early. Robbie Henshaw had nothing to prove in this game, so it doesn't really matter, but it wasn't the same quality we've come to expect from him. The intensity and effort was there and he ran hard into the defensive line until the very end, but he was often a step slow or slightly out of position. He'll benefit from the minutes ahead of next year's Six Nations.
11. James Lowe - 6.5
Although James Lowe wasn't heavily involved early on, he still had an impact kicking the ball in open play. His left boot was a valued commodity as Ireland escaped from their 22. When he did get a chance to run at Argentina, he produced an outstanding offload to Garry Ringrose before Ireland's second try. Lowe didn't have any opportunities in space outside. He came inside to find work and did so well, but never got an opportunity to run rampant.
10. Joey Carbery - 10
Joey Carbery's quality was on show early. He easily kicked Ireland's first three points from in front of the posts before adding two outstanding kicks down the line that ultimately led to Ireland's first try. He played on the gain line and delivered the ball well in both directions, but his standout moment in the first half was a big hit in midfield that forced a knock-on.
There were questions about Carbery's form for Munster coming into the game. After 30 minutes, he dispelled any concerns so there should be no question who is Ireland's second-choice out-half. He excelled for 30 minutes more at out-half before moving to fullback and excelling there too. It was a surprise move but maybe one that suggests Carbery, not Simon Zebo, is Ireland's second option at fullback after Hugo Keenan.
Carbery played as close to a perfect game as anyone can. He is a superstar on this form.
9. Conor Murray (subbed off 50') - 7
The difference in tempo between Conor Murray and Jamison Gibson-Park was obvious from the start of the game. Despite not playing rugby since the Lions tour, Murray's passing was sharp and he repeatedly showed himself on trail runs when Ireland broke through the Argentina defensive line. He might have scored a try if an Argentina defender hadn't intentionally knocked the ball on away from him.
It was a good hour for the Munster man.
8. Caelan Doris - 7
There was an unusual silence in Caelan Doris for most of this game. After an all-action display last week, he would have relished the opportunity to showcase himself again this week against inferior opposition. But Doris kept running into contact high. He lost the collision point more times than you'd expect him to. Ironically, he eventually scored a try because he ran into contact too high.
He bounced off Pablo Matera but wasn't wrapped up, so could redirect through to the goal line as Argentina's defence scrambled.
Doris will have bigger games for Ireland. This wasn't a game where he stood out. But that's not a concern for anyone who watched the New Zealand game. Doris has proven to be a big game player who comes up with big moments. Ireland didn't need any big moments against Argentina.
7. Josh van der Flier (subbed off 60') - 8
A week ago, it was Caelan Doris who was announcing himself as a ball-carrier to the world. Josh van der Flier took over that role during the first half this week. He scored a try at the back of a maul but also had two carries of significance that broke the Argentina defensive line. For his second try, Craig Casey put the ball on a plate and van der Flier took a perfect line to crash between two defenders and score.
Van der Flier matched the physicality of his opposite number throughout.
6. Peter O'Mahony - 6
Peter O'Mahony was a late inclusion in the starting lineup. He replaced Jack Conan in the back row. O'Mahony battled hard in rucks and challenged on defensive lineouts. But his age is working against him at this point. His physicality isn't where it once was and that allowed Argentina to mix it up with him more than they would have during his prime.
5. James Ryan (subbed off 39') - 5.5
James Ryan left the field with an injury just before halftime. He had a quiet game up until that point. It was notable that Argentina were able to disrupt more rucks than New Zealand did. This was partly due to Iain Henderson's absence but Ryan was also not making his presence felt the way he did previously.
4. Tadhg Beirne - 7.5
An hour before kickoff, Tadhg Beirne changed jersey number on the bench. A minute before kickoff, he moved into the starting lineup. 10 minutes after kickoff, Beirne stole Argentina's first lineout at the halfway line before catching a second on their five-metre line. Ireland drove their maul over for their first try of the game.
Beirne was solid throughout but it was notable how much Argentina were able to disrupt Ireland at rucks. Beirne playing in the second row definitely impacts the overall physicality of the Ireland pack. He's a much better fit at six. But still, his overall contributions are more than a positive.
He battled all game and was rewarded with a late try in the corner as he burrowed through off the base of a ruck.
3. Tadhg Furlong (subbed off 58') - 7.5
Although the quietest of the front row forwards, it was another assured performance from the best tighthead in the world. Tadhg Furlong's passing is outstanding. Ireland's front row are integral to the change in playing style because of it. He regularly acts as first receiver or as the second option in a pod where the ball is shifted quickly. His quick hands change the point of attack for the receiver, creating space for Ireland to pierce the defensive line.
He quietly goes about his business in the scrum, in open-field defence and at the lineout. So even when Furlong has a quiet game for Ireland, he's still making a huge impact.
2. Ronan Kelleher (subbed off 50') - 7.5
Ronan Kelleher had a big carry on the left wing against New Zealand last week. He had a second this week against Argentina. This time he finished it off with a delightful offload that moved Ireland into the Argentina 22. Within minutes, Kelleher was in control at the back of a maul billowing over the Argentina try line. He was accurate at the lineout, showed soft hands in the attacking line and filled his role defensively.
1. Andrew Porter (subbed off 58') - 7
The 75-minute man against New Zealand took 23 minutes to score against Argentina. Andrew Porter had a couple of impressive carries as the first receiver before eventually finding himself under the posts. He got low and drove underneath the taller Argentinian defenders from close range.
The referee singled Porter out on more than one occasion for not rolling away from rucks properly.
16. Dan Sheehan (subbed on 50') - 7.5
Dan Sheehan immediately ran over an Argentina defender after coming off the bench. Sheehan found the ball in space at first receiver more than once. He showed soft hands and ran hard into contact. Sheehan's positive play was rewarded with a try off a five-metre lineout. He powered his way over the line for the score.
It was a very promising start for a very young international.
17. Cian Healy (subbed on 58') - 7
Cian Healy was the victim of the red card incident in the second half. Healy was on his knees when the Argentinian player drove his shoulder into his jaw. The prop forward was thankfully okay to continue and scored soon after. That close-range snipe was ruled out because he dropped the ball, but Healy replicated the same move in the same spot on the field for his try soon after.
18. Tom O'Toole (subbed on 58')
19. Ryan Baird (subbed on 39') - 7.5
It took Ryan Baird seven minutes to announce his presence. Most second rows would do so by laying a big hit or winning a lineout. Baird announced himself by breaking away and running into the Argentina half with the speed of a winger. Baird is like a gazelle in the open field. He soon showed off his soft hands in the lineout with a couple of full-stretch claims.
20. Nick Timoney (subbed on 60')
21. Craig Casey (subbed on 50') 7.5
Craig Casey and Harry Byrne came on together and immediately injected pace into the game. Both were clearly intent on making a statement and Casey did so by whipping the ball clear from rucks as soon as they formed. Casey hit James Lowe on the Argentina goalline with a perfect flat pass. Lowe stopped short, but Casey repeated the feat for Josh van der Flier immediately after. Van der Flier hit a great line and scored his second try of the game.
22. Harry Byrne (subbed on 50') - 7
Harry Byrne took Joey Carbery's place at first receiver and mimicked his performance. He played on the gain line and whipped the ball to his outside backs accurately. Importantly, Byrne was comfortable playing at the speed of the game from the start. He didn't take time to ease into the game or disrupt Ireland's rhythm at all.
23. Keith Earls (subbed on 66')
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