Kidney surprised by Irish dominance

Sun, 25 Nov 2012 10:46
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Ireland coach Declan Kidney conceded that he never believed his side would demolish Argentina with such ease.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney conceded that he never believed his side would demolish Argentina with such ease as they scored seven tries in a record 46-24 victory at Lansdowne Road.

Argentina had won three of the last five encounters between the sides and arrived in Dublin to face an Irish side under huge pressure after their worst run of results in over 14 years.

With their place in the second tier of seeds for next week's World Cup draw under threat, Kidney's men needed to turn their fortunes around quickly and they did so in some style in Dublin on Saturday.

"You never think you'd get that number of tries against an Argentine side," said Kidney, whose position as Ireland coach would have been questioned had this result gone against him.

"But you also know that if things click, they're well capable of doing it.

"I can't emphasise enough how at this level small things make a huge difference.

"Instead of being 3-0 down at the very start when a penalty came back off the post, we went down and got a try and the enthusiasm grew from there.

"Today was a good day, the players didn't get too despondent after the South Africa defeat (two weeks ago) and we won't get too excited now."

After a year of underachievement, Ireland can take heart from the displays of Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo, who have just four caps between them.

They scored two of the tries, but Gilroy will grab the headlines after opening the scoring with his first senior try after just 11 minutes thanks to a fine side step and finish.

"I think numbers 1-15 did really well," said Kidney, refusing to single out the Ulster winger's performance.

"I've been saying they're a pleasure to work with, the young lads coming in, Craig and other lads who didn't get to play, they were infectious.

"We thought about having a go at it and it's amazing what happens when things go your way."

Skipper Jamie Heaslip felt the scoreline, which also included two tries and another nine points from the boot of Leinster flyhalf Johnny Sexton, might have flattered his side somewhat.

But he added that the team were desperate not to end the year on a low, after spending months trying to block out the memory of the summer whitewash by New Zealand.

"We talked about this being the last chance you had to wear the green shirt for a few months," Heaslip said.

"We had those defeats hanging over our heads for a few months in the summer. It wasn't nice.

"The squad we have right now have been together for the last four weeks, and we put a lot of effort into our work, so we talked last night about wanting to show the players around us, our family and friends, what it means to play in the green jersey.

"All the work had been done, it was time to let a bit of emotion and passion creep out and that's what we saw there."

Argentina were a shadow of their usual selves, perhaps exhausted by the 11 tests they'd already played this year.

In their last 10 games they played France three times, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand twice and Wales once. Dublin was clearly one step too far.

"I was not surprised, we know that Ireland play with intensity and played well against South Africa and Fiji," Argentina coach Santiago Phelan.

"We didn't have a good game. Ireland deserved their big win."

Try-scorer Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe didn't even try to create an excuse for their performance, simply admitting: "We have been outplayed in every facet of the game. It is a sad way to finish."