“It was incredibly physical and it’ll be no different next week, although we know we are going to have to step up a level again,” O’Mahony said on Sky Sport after Ireland’s 28-17 win on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland have wrapped up preparations for their highly anticipated clash of the hemispheres against New Zealand next Saturday with a hard-fought 28-17 victory.,
Behind a dominant scrum and powerhouse display in midfield from Kiwi-born No 12 Bundee Aki, the Irish eventually shrugged off a determined challenge from the Pumas to set up next weekend’s matchup of the champions north and south in splendid fashion.
Ireland scored three tries to one and deserved their victory over a plucky Argentina side with a decisive advantage in both possession and territory. Lock James Ryan led a strong forward display with 17 carries and 12 tackles.
It was far from a vintage display from the Irish who racked up their 10th victory in a row on home soil, but they did enough to shake loose a robust Argentine side and grind them down with their superiority up front.
Ireland did lose outstanding openside flanker Sean O’Brien to an arm injury shortly before halftime which looks certain to rule the No 7 out for next week’s test against the All Blacks.
The oft-sidelined loose forward cut a forlorn figure on the bench as the match unfolded and he contemplated yet another spell out dealing with injury.
The Irish scored two tries to one in the first 40 minutes to take a slender 15-14 lead into the sheds.
Halfback Kieran Marmion answered an early Sanchez penalty with a try in the ninth minute, set up by an Irish scrum in dominant mood, to take the home side out to an early 5-3 lead.
Then the Pumas roared back, with Sanchez slotting a second penalty and wing Bautista Delguy finishing out wide following a nice break from Matias Orlando to put the visitors 11-5 to the good approaching the first quarter mark.
Ireland’s New Zealand-born midfielder Aki then struck following a prolonged period of pressure to put the home side back in front and, after penalties were traded before the break, Schmidt’s men headed into the sheds with the slender advantage.
The Irish were clinical more than classical in the second 40, but two further Sexton penalties and a decisive 66th minute try for replacement halfback Luke McGrath, off his dominant scrum, sealed the victory.
Schmidt will be happy to have avoided the Argentina banana skin, but will understand much better will be required next week. He also has a lengthening injury list to contemplate, including centre Robbie Henshaw who had to withdraw following the warmup with a hamstring problem.
Ireland 28 (Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki, Luke McGrath tries; Jonny Sexton 3 pens, 2 cons), Argentina 17 (Bautista Delguy try; Nicolas Sanchez 4 pens). Ht: 15-14.