Ireland thump Pumas
Ireland silenced their critics with an impressive 46-24 victory over Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Ireland led from start to finish in a dominant display, outscoring their visitors seven tries to two.
Few would have expected such a one-sided clash after Argentina's recent win over Wales but the home side produced their best performance since pushing the All Blacks close in June to run the Pumas ragged.
The result ends Ireland's five-Test losing streak and secures their place among the second seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw.
Ireland raced to 24-9 lead by half time thanks to tries from debutant Craig Gilroy, fly-half Jonathan Sexton, hooker Richardt Strauss and full-back Simon Zebo. Argentina's only reply came via three penalties from pivot Nicolas Sanchez.
Unlike a fortnight ago when the Springboks turned the tables on Declan Kidney's men, the second half saw Ireland secure victory with two tries from Tommy Bowe and another from Sexton as the green-clad pack ruled in the tight exchanges and the backs hit their straps.
Argentina scored two consolation tries - via Tomas Leonardi and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe - in the final ten minutes but will be disappointed with their effort.
Gilroy got his international debut off to a perfect start by scoring a fabulous try after taking a flat pass from Sexton and beating handful of defenders, putting the hosts in front early on - and they never looked back.
Sexton grabbed his first try shortly afterwards with an equally good run to step his way to the whitewash. Strauss emerged from a line-out drive to crash over and give Ireland a 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The result looked done and dusted.
Bowe and Sexton combined to send Zebo over the corner before the half-time whistle, handing the Ireland a 15-point headstart as the sides swapped ends.
Sanchez landed his fourth penalty of the afternoon to get the second half started but two tries in the space of four minutes from Bowe and Sexton ended any hopes of a comeback from the Pumas.
Bowe collected Sexton's chip ahead to gather and touch down before bagging his second after some fancy footwork from Gilroy and a final pass from Donnacha Ryan.
Argentina pushed hard for a try but to their credit, the Irish defence never backed off had held firm against multiple waves of heavy Argentine ball carriers.
The final Irish try arrived when Bowe pounced on Keith Earls' chip kick, but substitute Leonardi and skipper Fernandez Lobbe scored late tries from short range to give Argentina some respectability on the scoreboard.
Man of the match: A few candidates here and Jonathan Sexton deserves a mention for his two tries and getting the Irish backline going. But Ireland really won the game up front and Donnacha Ryan stood out, not only in the line-outs but for his tireless work cleaning out at the breakdown.
Moment of the match: The writing was on the wall early for the Pumas. Craig Gilroy's try was a great start to both the game and a promising Test career.
Villain of the match: Maximiliano Bustos was for a silly swing of a handbag - throwing the ball into the face of opposite number Cian Healy - so not worthy of the villain award.
Tries: Gilroy, Sexton 2 , Strauss, Zebo, Bowe 2
Cons: Sexton 3, O'Gara
Tries: Leonardi, Fernandez Lobbe
Pens: Sanchez 4
Yellow card: Bustos
Ireland: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 Iain Henderson, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ronan O'Gara, 23 Fergus McFadden.
Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Nicolas Vergallo, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi, 23 Manuel Montero.
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Andrew Small (England)
Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)