We’re running out of superlatives for Jacob Stockdale as he once again stole the show with a brace of tries against Argentina in Ireland’s final November international.
CJ Stander was the other Ireland try scorer in what was a solid Irish performance.
Johnny Sexton got Ireland off to a positive start with a penalty inside the first five minutes. With 12 minutes on the clock, Ireland pushed Argentina off their own ball at the scrum and this was a sign of things to come in the first half. Sexton added another three points from the resulting penalty.
Jacob Stockdale scored his first try and the benefited off excellent hands from Chris Farrell. Sexton added the extras and Ireland were comfortable with a quarter of the game played. Unforced errors from the Argentines allowed Ireland possession and field position.
After their hiccup early on, Argentina began to grow into the game. The ball was kept within the forwards and they marched into the Irish 22. Ireland’s defence was resolute and organized and eventually forced the Argentine mistake.
Ireland were comfortable at the break however Argentina had not offered much going forward. They got some early success when they attacked the channel between Chris Farrell and Adam Byrne however Ireland’s job was made easier as the Argentine backs wouldn’t straighten their running lines in the second half they looked a much bigger threat on the ball.
Jacob Stockdale added his second try of the night two minutes after the break. The former Wallace High man picked a lovely line off Sexton and outsprinted Joaquin Tuculet to score in the corner. Argentina had a period of pressure after the Irish try and were rewarded with a try of their own. Nicolas Sanchez knocked a ball through and full back Tuculet was the first player to the ball.
CJ Stander answered Tuculet’s try with one of his own. One thing Ireland do superbly is adapt to the opposite. From a lineout on the Argentine 5m line, the ball was transferred giving Ireland an advantage and the Munsterman was able crash over.
Juan Manuel Leguizamon scored another try for Argentina with ten minutes left. Ireland responded with a penalty to take the game beyond Argentine reach and put 16 points between the sides.
Ireland’s first half was enough to see them through however they let Argentina into the game with a poor second half performance. Ramiro Moyano scored a deserved consolation try at the end after outsprinting Rob Kearney and Andrew Conway in the build up, but Ireland have a few concerns ahead of the Six Nations.
Despite a few concerns there were some positives. Both Rory Best and Iain Henderson put in decent shifts however Stockdale showed once again why he is Ireland’s in-form winger. Rob Kearney had a decent outing from full back taking a great catch in the first half to deny an Argentine try.
Best, Henderson and Stockdale will all head back to Ulster but will likely be rested for the trip to Newport to face the Dragons next week.