Argentina’s early scoring blitz helped them dash Ireland’s hopes of earning a first World Cup semi-final spot, the Pumas winning 43-20 at the Millennium Stadium.
Brilliant tries from Matias Moroni and Juan Imhoff saw the Pumas take a 17-0 lead over the under-strength Irish by the 13th minute.
Luke Fitzgerald’s terrific score helped cut the margin to 20-10 by the break.
A Jordi Murphy touchdown reduced the gap to three points but late tries from Joaquin Tuculet and Imhoff sealed a deserved Argentina win.
The victory sets up a semi-final for the Pumas against either Australia or Scotland at Twickenham next Sunday with an all-southern hemisphere last-four line-up now a real prospect.
Argentina might be traditionally known as a strong and powerful side, with an emphasis on their forward play, but they stunned Ireland with some superb kicking and running.
None exemplified this more than the lively Moroni, who skated around Dave Kearney to score Argentina’s opener after three minutes.
A bad start for Ireland turned into a disastrous one as wing Imhoff ran on to a perfectly judged crossfield kick from Santiago Cordero to touch down again on 10 minutes.
After Imhoff’s score, the impeccable Nicolas Sanchez struck his third successful kick to increase Argentina’s advantage to 17-0 with less than 15 minutes played.
- Argentina have now beaten Ireland in three of the four World Cup meetings between the sides
- The 43 points scored by Argentina was the joint most Ireland have conceded in a Rugby World Cup game (v New Zealand, 1995 & v France, 2003)
- Nicolas Sanchez scored 23 points to become the top point scorer in the tournament so far (74); only once has Sanchez scored more in a single Test for the Pumas (25 v Tonga)
- Juan Imhoff scored two tries to become the first Argentina player to score five tries in a single Rugby World Cup tournament
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