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Summer Internationals – Lessons Learned, Work To Be Done

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And so Ireland win a series on foreign soil. Before saying anything else, it must be noted that in recent memory we have only managed to do this over the US/Canada (09/13), Japan (05) and the Pacific Islands (03). Certainly Argentina are the most high profile side we have managed to beat on a series away from home, and therefore regardless what other outcomes there are from this summer, Ireland’s prolific win streak continues with two trophies in the bag for the season.

Joe Schmidt didn’t hold back after the second test on Saturday, openly noting that Ireland will simply need to be better against South Africa and Australia in November. In fact, Argentina arguably got the greatest bit of news of the two teams, with Manuel Montero and Lucas Amorosino standing to the plate and beyond on the wings and providing a great spark for the Pumas, particularly with Scotland to come on Friday.

Schmidt will be happy with the win, and the series, and a few small individual touches here and there. But particularly in the second test, things were a little wayward. Had the line out not been exceptional and the scrum mostly dominant Ireland could have been in serious trouble. Even with those set pieces functioning well, none of the moves following on from them were coming off.

To the credit of the Irish side, Argentina were playing a dogged game. For most of the match they were happy to surrender the penalties knowing Ireland were taking the 3 points every time. Call it tinfoil hat stuff though, but how many times this season and has Ian Madigan’s arrival to the field been followed near immediately by a try? Much like Simon Zebo who has now acquitted himself in full, Madigan needs a place on starting teams in the future.

In all, series won, trophy in the bag. We all know it’s been a whole lot worse than this in recent years.
Argentina 17 – 23 Ireland

New Zealand V England turned out to be a thriller with England looking on course for only their third win down under against the All Blacks (a feeling Irish fans know all to well however). New Zealand of course turned it around with 20 minutes of electric rugby at the start of the second half, though England could have had the game with five more minutes you would think.

South Africa V Wales was a little depressing to be fair, with the Springboks running rampant on the once greatest Northern Hemisphere teams around. Much work to be done for the Welsh.

Australia V France somewhat resembled rugby’s equivalent of a nil all draw, albeit with some shockingly entertaining rugby surrounding this essentially scoreless encounter. Australia clinched the win in the end however.

Canada V Scotland fairly reversed from last week, Scotland should not be beating Canada with last minute kicks for goal. Vern Cotter still yet to sink his teeth in properly methinks, a test against Argentina on Friday should prove the first real display of his skills.

Image courtesy of theguardian.com

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