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Home / Cardiff and it's Bay / Home and School / Ireland 20-43 Argentina: Joe Schmidt’s men suffer Rugby World Cup heartbreak …

Ireland 20-43 Argentina: Joe Schmidt’s men suffer Rugby World Cup heartbreak …

  • Matias Moroni scored Argentina’s first try within first five minutes before Juan Imhoff added a brilliant second
  • Ramiro Herrera was sin binned for Argentina in the first half after a late shoulder charge on Ireland’s Keith Earls 
  • Luke Fitzgerald gave Ireland hope after galloping clear down the left wing to score his team’s opening try
  • Joe Schmidt’s men scored early in the second half when Fitzgerald played in Jordi Murphy to sprint over the line
  • Joaquin Tuculet avoided Rob Kearney and touched down in the corner to increase Argentina’s lead in Cardiff
  • Imhoff scored his second try of the afternoon at the Millennium Stadium after racing clear of the Ireland defence
  • Rugby World Cup 2015: See the latest RWC news, results and highlights

Matt Lawton for the Daily Mail

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Ireland will reflect with some regret on the opportunity that was squandered in Cardiff on Sunday.

It was not simply the fact that another World Cup quarter-final was lost, and with it that elusive place in the last four. It will be the memory of how close they came, drawing to within three points of a mightily impressive Argentina before folding in the final quarter.

But this, Joe Schmidt conceded afterwards, was the game when Ireland needed the experience of Paul O’Connell and the composure of Johnny Sexton. When, in the face of such tenacity from a South American side that played the more aggressive, more expansive rugby, they needed the guile and ferocity of players like Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony. 

Ireland's stand-in captain (right) Jamie Heaslip cuts a dejected figure as the reality of a heartbreaking defeat by Argentina sets in

Ireland’s stand-in captain (right) Jamie Heaslip cuts a dejected figure as the reality of a heartbreaking defeat by Argentina sets in

Joe Schmidt's men were looking to progress to the World Cup semi-finals but were unable to overcome their South American opponents

Joe Schmidt’s men were looking to progress to the World Cup semi-finals but were unable to overcome their South American opponents

Argentina flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe celebrates on the Millennium Stadium pitch after helping his team defeat Ireland

Argentina flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe celebrates on the Millennium Stadium pitch after helping his team defeat Ireland

Matias Moroni, who scored the first try of the afternoon, celebrates with Argentina fans in the stands following the memorable victory 

Matias Moroni, who scored the first try of the afternoon, celebrates with Argentina fans in the stands following the memorable victory 

Ireland flanker Jordi Murphy charged forward for Joe Schmidt's men and successfully scored a try at the beginning of the second half 

Ireland flanker Jordi Murphy charged forward for Joe Schmidt’s men and successfully scored a try at the beginning of the second half 

Despite a spirited comeback, late tries from Joaquin Tuculet and Juan Imhoff (pictured) confirmed the defeat for Schmidt's Ireland

Despite a spirited comeback, late tries from Joaquin Tuculet and Juan Imhoff (pictured) confirmed the defeat for Schmidt’s Ireland

MATCH FACTS 

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Bowe, Earls, Henshaw, Dave Kearney; Madigan, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross; Toner, Henderson; Murphy, Henry, Heaslip

Replacements: Strauss, McGrath, White, Ryan, Ruddock, Reddan, Jackson, Fitzgerald

Tries: Fitzgerald, Murphy

Conversions: Madigan (2)

Penalties: Madigan (2)

Argentina: Tuculet, Cordero, Moroni, Hernandez, Imhoff, Sanchez, Landajo; Ayerza, Creevy, Herrera, Petti, Lavanini, Matera, Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Leonardo Senatore.

Replacements: Montoya, Noguera, Orlandi, Alemanno, Isa, Cubelli, De La Fuente, Amorosino

Tries: Moroni, Imhoff (2), Tuculet

Conversions: Sanchez (3), Hernandez

Penalties: Sanchez (5)

O’Connell might have lifted Irish spirits when he appeared briefly on the giant screens here at the Millennium Stadium but the injury he suffered against the French proved Ireland’s undoing every bit as much as the loss of Sexton in that same brutal encounter last week. 

This time the understudies were not quite up to the task, with Ian Madigan unable to build on the fine display he produced when he came on as Sexton’s replacement a week earlier. He was certainly no match for Nicolas Sanchez, the architect of Argentina’s ambitious back play as well as the scorer of 23 points.

If Madigan was at fault for allowing his nerves to get the better of him, he should not be left to carry the burden of responsibility alone.

Defensively Ireland’s backs were poor, and as a team they simply froze in an explosive opening quarter that saw Argentina twice cross the try line to surge into a commanding lead.

After just 13 minutes they were 17 points ahead, silencing a predominantly Irish crowd.

Argentina gave New Zealand a fright earlier in the tournament and not long ago were celebrating victory over South Africa in Durban.

Argentina outside centre Moroni scored the first try of the afternoon at the Millennium Stadium within the opening five minutes

Argentina outside centre Moroni scored the first try of the afternoon at the Millennium Stadium within the opening five minutes

Moroni, who replaced the suspended Marcelo Bosch, celebrates after scoring a try in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff

Moroni, who replaced the suspended Marcelo Bosch, celebrates after scoring a try in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff

The 24-year-old is mobbed by his Argentina team-mates after galloping free down the right wing to open the scoring against Ireland 

The 24-year-old is mobbed by his Argentina team-mates after galloping free down the right wing to open the scoring against Ireland 

Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip (centre) delivers instructions to his Ireland team-mates after conceding the opening try in Cardiff

Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip (centre) delivers instructions to his Ireland team-mates after conceding the opening try in Cardiff

Ireland lock Devin Toner jumps in the line-out as Joe Schmidt's men compete with Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final

Ireland lock Devin Toner jumps in the line-out as Joe Schmidt’s men compete with Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final

Argentina's Pablo Matera attempts to use his powerful frame to charge his way through but is tackled by Ireland's Ian Madigan

Argentina’s Pablo Matera attempts to use his powerful frame to charge his way through but is tackled by Ireland’s Ian Madigan

Argentina showcased their impressive attacking play in the first half and increased their lead through Juan Imhoff (right)

Argentina showcased their impressive attacking play in the first half and increased their lead through Juan Imhoff (right)

Imhoff read the play beautifully to sprint towards the posts and touch the ball down ahead of Ireland full-back Rob Kearney

Imhoff read the play beautifully to sprint towards the posts and touch the ball down ahead of Ireland full-back Rob Kearney

Wing Imhoff is congratulated by his Argentina team-mates after scoring his team's second try against Joe Schmidt's Ireland team

Wing Imhoff is congratulated by his Argentina team-mates after scoring his team’s second try against Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team

More surprising on Sunday was the timidity of the Irish performance. There was not a hint of the fire and brimstone they had produced to pummel France into submission.

If Ireland deserved credit, it was for the way they initially responded. First when Ramiro Herrera was sent to the sin-bin and then at the start of the second half, with Luke Fitzgerald delivering an outstanding performance after coming on as replacement for Tommy Bowe.

Here, it seemed, we had the continuation of a developing theme for the Irish; another deputy who could answer his country’s call. Fitzgerald had considered retirement his injuries were so serious.

Now, however, he was scoring one fabulous solo try and providing the platform for Jordi Murphy to make the 44th-minute score that dragged Ireland back into the match.

Too often, however, in too many areas, Ireland were found wanting. They lacked discipline at critical moments, were defensively fragile against Argentina’s powerful running and until the second half were a distant second best at the breakdown. Even their pack wobbled against Argentina’s scrummaging.

Whatever the issue — the burden of expectation, the injury toll — Ireland were painfully slow in getting into this game.

Argentina scored a super try after only three minutes after Joaquin Tuculet had collected a high ball. Santiago Cordero would then draw in the tackle from Rob Kearney, leaving Matias Moroni a clear run to the line down the right flank.

The sight of Juan Imhoff then comfortably winning the race in pursuit of a Tuculet kick added to the sense of anxiety. As did Sanchez popping over a penalty to add to his two conversions. Ireland were in a mess.

Tommy Bowe was treated on the Millennium Stadium turf by the Ireland medical team after running into an Argentina player

Tommy Bowe was treated on the Millennium Stadium turf by the Ireland medical team after running into an Argentina player

The Ireland wing was unable to continue and was visibly upset after being carried off on a stretcher in the first half

The Ireland wing was unable to continue and was visibly upset after being carried off on a stretcher in the first half

Heaslip goes on the attack for Ireland as they look to make history and qualify for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals

Heaslip goes on the attack for Ireland as they look to make history and qualify for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals

Ramiro Herrera (right) was sin binned for Argentina in the first half after a late shoulder charge on Ireland's Keith Earls

Ramiro Herrera (right) was sin binned for Argentina in the first half after a late shoulder charge on Ireland’s Keith Earls

Injured Ireland captain Paul O' Connell (right) looks on from the Millennium Stadium stands as Ireland compete with Argentina

Injured Ireland captain Paul O’ Connell (right) looks on from the Millennium Stadium stands as Ireland compete with Argentina

First-half replacement Luke Fitzgerald gave Ireland hope after galloping clear down the left wing to score his team's opening try

First-half replacement Luke Fitzgerald gave Ireland hope after galloping clear down the left wing to score his team’s opening try

Fitzgerald raced clear down the left and avoided Argentina's attempts to stop him to score Ireland's first try of the afternoon in Cardiff

Fitzgerald raced clear down the left and avoided Argentina’s attempts to stop him to score Ireland’s first try of the afternoon in Cardiff

Wing Luke Fitzgerald celebrates with Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray (left) after reducing the deficit against Argentina in the quarter-final

Wing Luke Fitzgerald celebrates with Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray (left) after reducing the deficit against Argentina in the quarter-final

Ireland's Kearney is treated for a hand injury during the first half of the clash Kearney of Ireland, who plays his club rugby for Leinster, grimaces after being treated for an injured finger during the first half

Kearney of Ireland, who plays his club rugby for Leinster, grimaces after being treated for an injured finger during the first half

Argentina scored a super try after only three minutes after Joaquin Tuculet had collected a high ball. Santiago Cordero would then draw in the tackle from Rob Kearney, leaving Matias Moroni a clear run to the line down the right flank.

The sight of Juan Imhoff then comfortably winning the race in pursuit of a Tuculet kick added to the sense of anxiety. As did Sanchez popping over a penalty to add to his two conversions. Ireland were in a mess.

With Herrera off the field for a late tackle on Keith Earls the Irish did respond. Madigan kicked Ireland’s first points and, while Sanchez hit back with another penalty, a burst of acceleration from Fitzgerald brought a try that gave his side a much-needed shot of adrenalin.

The conversion from Madigan reduced the deficit to 10 points but the chance to close it further still was wasted when Ireland’s fly-half saw an attempt bounce off a post.

Never mind. With Schmidt able to reorganise during the break, Ireland returned with far more purpose and precision. Fitzgerald was again central to the action, escaping the attention of Cordero and off-loading to the fast-moving Murphy for the second Irish try.

Two more points from Madigan and an exchange of penalties with Sanchez and this contest was now mesmerizingly close. The momentum, however, seemed Ireland’s.

This, though, was where cool heads and strong leadership were once again required, and where Argentina proved superior.

A weak kick from Madigan denied Ireland the chance to draw level and proved all the more costly when Sanchez took the score to 26-20 with only 16 minutes remaining.

Dev Toner’s high tackle on the mercurial Argentina fly-half was punished, with Ireland suffering from a mixture of indecision and indiscipline.

Errors enabled Argentina to launch two more attacks that resulted in terrific tries for Tuculet and Imhoff; the latter seeing the winger run a full 40 metres after collecting a perfectly-executed pass from the excellent Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

With only seven minutes remaining that was Ireland done, Sanchez landing one more penalty to leave Argentina celebrating wildly with their supporters.

Dave Kearney successfully catches the high ball as Rory Best (right) looks on during the quarter-final between Ireland and Argentina

Dave Kearney successfully catches the high ball as Rory Best (right) looks on during the quarter-final between Ireland and Argentina

Soon after the restart, Fitzgerald powered through a tackle and then offloaded to Jordi Murphy who gets over the line for another try

Soon after the restart, Fitzgerald powered through a tackle and then offloaded to Jordi Murphy who gets over the line for another try

Murphy is mobbed by his Ireland team-mates after scoring the opening try of the second half to give his team hope against Argentina

Murphy is mobbed by his Ireland team-mates after scoring the opening try of the second half to give his team hope against Argentina

French referee Jerome Garces (centre) awards Ireland a penalty as Joe Schmidt's men look to progress to the semi-finals

French referee Jerome Garces (centre) awards Ireland a penalty as Joe Schmidt’s men look to progress to the semi-finals

Argentina's Joaquin Tuculet cuts a dejected figure after his team are put under increased pressure at the Millennium Stadium

Argentina’s Joaquin Tuculet cuts a dejected figure after his team are put under increased pressure at the Millennium Stadium

Tuculet avoided Rob Kearney and touched down in the corner to increase Argentina’s lead in Cardiff as the final whistle approached

The Argentina internationals jubilantly celebrate after scoring their third try against Joe Schmidt's Ireland team

The Argentina internationals jubilantly celebrate after scoring their third try against Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team

Imhoff scored his second try after the afternoon at the Millennium Stadium after racing clear of the Ireland defence

Imhoff scored his second try after the afternoon at the Millennium Stadium after racing clear of the Ireland defence

The Argentina squad rush to celebrate with try scorer Imhoff after the Pumas made sure of the victory over Ireland

The Argentina squad rush to celebrate with try scorer Imhoff after the Pumas made sure of the victory over Ireland

Ireland supporters are left heartbroken inside the Millennium Stadium after suffering a defeat by Argentina on Sunday afternoon

Ireland supporters are left heartbroken inside the Millennium Stadium after suffering a defeat by Argentina on Sunday afternoon

IRELAND’S WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINAL EXITS 

Ireland bombed out of the World Cup at the quarter-finals for the sixth time in history with a crushing 43-20 defeat to Argentina.

Here, Sportsmail examines Ireland’s last-eight hoodoo.

1987: Australia 33 Ireland 15

The Wallabies raced into a 24-point lead, with Brian Smith claiming a score. Smith would later switch allegiances and turn out in Test colours for Ireland. Hugo MacNeill and Michael Kiernan almost brought Ireland back into the equation, but Australia had done the damage with that quickfire start.

1991: Ireland 18 Australia 19

Gordon Hamilton’s late try still has Ireland talking, 24 years down the line. But it was not to be, as Michael Lynagh’s last-gasp score hit the men in green like a sucker punch, their three-point lead evaporating on the Lansdowne Road air.

1995: France 36 Ireland 12

Thierry Lacroix’s 26 points from the boot spoke volumes on France’s almost total dominance. Tries from Philippe Saint-Andre and Emile Ntamack left Ireland bereft of a reply.

2003: France 43 Ireland 21

Keith Wood’s stellar Ireland career ended in full-time tears and a warm embrace with close friend and France rival Fabien Galthie. France’s 27-0 half-time lead indicated the gulf in class, though Brian O’Driscoll’s brace and Kevin Maggs’ score at least restored some level of respectability.

2011: Ireland 10 Wales 22

Ireland approached their fifth World Cup quarter-final confident they could finally break their last-eight hoodoo. The 15-6 victory over Australia in the pool stages had Ireland on their uppers, only for Warren Gatland’s Wales to stop them in their tracks. Shane Williams’ early try was a portent of more trouble to come, with Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies completing the job.

2015: Ireland 20 Argentina 43

Argentina stunned Ireland with two tries in the first 10 minutes and Joe Schmidt’s side never really recovered. Though Ireland pushed back to within three points, the Pumas recovered their poise and ran in two late scores to ease home. Juan Imhoff sealed the rout with a swallow-dive finish, that left Ireland frustrated. But without captain Paul O’Connell, potent flanker Peter O’Mahony and linchpin fly-half Johnny Sexton – all through injury – the Irish would always struggle. Add the banned Sean O’Brien to the missing cast-list and Ireland were unable to fend off those problems. 


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