15. Simon Zebo – 8
Another assured performance by the stand-in fullback. Zebo scored Ireland’s fourth try and might have added at least one more on a night when the youngsters tormented a tired Argentine defence.
14. Tommy Bowe – 8
Showed great pace to chase down a Sexton chip and score the first of his two second half tries. With the new faces coming in Tommy is now one of the more experienced squad members, and he looks to have taken on that responsibility on the field.
13. Keith Earls – 7
Questions remain over Earls’ partnership with D’Arcy in the centre. But the Munster back was nevertheless an effective threat against the Pumas, causing chaos with a clever grubber leading to Tommy Bowe’s second, and Ireland’s final try.
12. Gordon D’Arcy – 6
A clever inside pass set up Sexton for his first of the afternoon as the Irish backline threatened to run riot. That assist apart, D’Arcy was solid without being spectacular and provides valuable experience in this transition period.
11. Craig Gilroy – 9
(Man of the Match) Overcame some pre-match nerves and a couple of heavy contacts in the opening exchanges to score on debut, and send Ireland on their way to a crucial victory. Try as they might the Pumas couldn’t handle this exciting young talent.
10. Jonathan Sexton – 9
Sexton was at his creative best and had hands in assists for Gilroy, Zebo and Bowe as well as deservedly touching down twice himself. His miss pass to find Zebo was truly world class.
9. Conor Murray – 7
Murray might have expected a rougher examination from the Pumas back-row. As it was the scrum-half had a relatively comfortable time and was able to change the direction of attack with surprisingly clean quick ball.
1. Cian Healy – 8
The pick of the front-row on this occasion, Healy can take much of the credit for a strong Irish set piece after winning his battle with 22 stone Bustos on the Argentina tight-head. As ever Healy was also prominent in the loose.
2. Richardt Strauss – 7
An accurate afternoon with the darts helped secure clean lineout ball which allowed for his break off a rolling maul to score his first Irish try. Strauss also ran some useful supporting lines.
3. Mike Ross – 7
Solid in the set-piece against an unusually weak Argentina eight, Ross and Healy upped the intensity with a massive scrum early in the second half which confirmed their dominance.
4. Donnacha Ryan – 8
Ryan is now established in the Irish engine room and it’s not difficult to see why after another physical performance from the hard hitting Munster lock. He was safe as houses with Irish lineout ball and consistently disrupted Argentina.
5. Mike McCarthy – 7
Not as prominent as he was against South Africa but a consistent performance nonetheless. McCarthy played his part alongside Ryan in bullying the inaccurate Argentine lineout.
6. Peter O’Mahony – 8
This was another step up from O’Mahony who played in the faces of the Pumas pack. He was a nuisance around the ruck area and regularly carried over the gain-line. Guilty of giving away a few penalties but otherwise this was his best Irish performance to date.
7. Chris Henry – 7
Henry benefitted from more game time in the green number seven jersey. His work rate is second to none, and he grew in confidence as the game progressed. His reading of the maul situation was excellent and led to a couple of turnovers.
8. Jamie Heaslip – 7
The stand-in captain is still searching for his best form, but he has handled the burden of captaincy with aplomb this autumn. It might be that the Leinster no.8 continues in this role long term.
Replacements – 4
Declan Kidney emptied the bench in the last 5 minutes without much thought, and it cost Ireland two late tries. Ronan O’Gara handed possession and territory to the beaten Pumas with an inexplicable drop out from his own 22. O’Gara has been a proud servant of Irish rugby over the years but perhaps the time has come for him to step aside, with Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan waiting on the sidelines.
By David Blair (@viscount_dave)