Kidney in seventh heaven after victory over Pumas
Ireland coach Declan Kidney described today’s seven-try rout of feeble Argentina at Aviva Stadium as the stuff of dreams.
The Irish secured their place among the second tier of seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw on Monday week with a record 46-24 triumph that saw Jonathan Sexton and Tommy Bow score two tries each.
It was the result and performance they needed, ending a five-Test losing run and relieving the pressure on under-fire coach Kidney.
“You never in your wildest dreams think you’ll score that number of tries against Argentina,” Kidney said.
“If things click then this team is well capable of doing that. Today was one of the good days.
“We didn’t get too despondent after the defeat by South Africa two weeks ago and we won’t be too disappointed following today.
“This result makes it a whole lot easier to go to training the next time we meet.
“If I say it was the complete performance I’ll be out of a job! There’s always things to be done.”
Ulster winger Craig Gilroy produced a remarkable Test debut, tormenting Argentina’s defence throughout and finishing with a wonderful try.
The 21-year-old was also involved in the build up to three other tries and Kidney admitted the squad’s younger brigade had lifted the spirits.
“I’ve been saying for the last two weeks they’ve been a pleasure to work with,” he said.
“The enthusiasm of the young lads who’ve come in – not just Craig but some of the others who didn’t play – has been infectious.
“We talked about having a go at it and that paid off. We picked off a few good tries and that confidence flowed through the team.”
Captain Jamie Heaslip refused to over-hype a result no one predicted in what was Ireland’s best performance since beating Australia at last year’s World Cup.
“The scoreline flattered us. Sometimes things just click and you get the lucky bounce as well,” Heaslip said.
“I’m proud of the effort and professionalism shown by everyone. It was a great shift from this group of players.
“This year there have been plenty of missed opportunities in Tests, so we’ve been introspective to see what we can change.”
Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe lamented a disappointing conclusion to a breakthrough year for the Pumas that included their entrance into the Rugby Championship.
Lobbe refused to use fatigue – today’s Test against Ireland was their 12th since June – to explain a feeble performance that fell well short of expectations.
“That was a sad way to end the season. Now we must spend six months without seeing each other. It’s not what we wanted,” he said.
“Rugby is usually won by the team who wants it most and we were over-run in every aspect.
“We had a good week and were fresh for this match. We’ve improved over the year but this is a sad way to finish.
“Now that we have 12 games a year together we will continue to improve and we know we are not the finished product.”