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IT Sat, Nov 24

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  • 13:35
    Good afternoon and welcome to The Irish Times’ live coverage of a vital day for the Ireland as they look to secure a place in the top eight of the world rankings.

    To do that they must beat Argentina at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon, a game that starts at 2pm. My name is Emmet Riordan and I’ll be with you for all the matches today, while Gavin Cummiskey will be sending in a report from today’s game at the final whistle.

    In this morning’s Irish Times, our rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley laid out some of the permutations that could unfold depending on the result against the Pumas.

    How the rankings could pan out

    The permutations with regard to the IRB world rankings, upon which the 2015 World Cup draw will be made in London on Monday week, are endless. Ireland currently stand seventh, and thus in the second tier of seeds from fifth to eighth, and will remain in that band if they win, but drop down to the third tier if they lose.

    If Ireland win today, that would ensure a minimum ranking of eighth as they would overtake Argentina and could only be overtaken by Wales and Samoa if they beat New Zealand and France. Scotland cannot now make the top eight.

    An Irish defeat would see them fall out of the top eight, as Wales and Samoa could not fall below Ireland even if they lose by more than 15 points. (Then, Scotland could also overtake Ireland if they beat Tonga by more than 15 points, as could Italy if they beat Australia.)

    A draw at the Aviva would push Ireland below Wales and leave Ireland depending on France to beat Samoa to secure eighth place.

    An Argentinean win means they would retain sixth place, and while a defeat would see them drop below Ireland it would require wins by both Wales and Samoa to edge them out of the top eight.

    Next weekend England and Wales host New Zealand and Australia, and those matches will also count in the rankings.

    Well I hope that’s clear. Gerry believes Ireland will win today, but it will be hard fought until the end. You can read his preview here.

    Gerry also sat down with Ireland secondrow Mike McCarthy, who has taken the long road to the international boiler room. Read the interview here.

    Gavin Cummiskey looks into the growing strength of Argentina and why it will see many of their players leave European rugby behind them. Read it here.

    You can also read Gavin’s penpix of both Ireland and Argentina and a look at the battles down the years between the two sides down the years.

  • 13:51

    The forecasters predicted rain, but thankfully the weather is perfect for rugby, dry and with little or no wind. 

  • 13:56
    Well the Pumas certainly win the fashion award so far with those snazzy tracksuit tops.
  • 14:01

    South African referee Jaco Peyper blows his whistle and we're away and running.

  • 14:01
    But straight into touch from Jonny Sexton, not a great start. 
  • 14:02
    First scrum of the day on the half-way line.
  • 14:02
    And Ireland's pack looked solid in the first encounter.
  • 14:03
    Ireland off their feet at the breakdown and the first penalty goes to the Pumas.
  • 14:04
    MISSED PENALTY - ARGENTINA: Nicolás Sánchez hits the post with his effort.
  • 14:04
    Peter O'Mahony gathers and Sexton kicks to half-way.
  • 14:05
    Donnacha Ryan claims the Argentine throw.
  • 14:06
    Penalty to Ireland for a high tackle from Juan Manuel Leguizamón on Conor Murray.
  • 14:06
    Sexton fails to make the Argentine 22 with the kick.
  • 14:07
    Scrappy throw, but Ireland get a free and take the scrum.
  • 14:08
    A long period of possession from Ireland but Simon Zebo knocks on from Sexton's pass.
  • 14:11
    Penalty to Ireland after Argentine player comes in from the side. Sexton's kick is better down to the 22.
  • 14:12
    Ryan takes and Ireland maul.
  • 14:12
    TRY - IRELAND: Amazing, Craig Gilroy scores after just 11minutes.
  • 14:13
    Beautiful pass from Sexton and the Ulster winger jinks past three Pumas on the way in for a great try.
  • 14:14
    CONVERSION - IRELAND: Sexton adds the extras.
  • 14:15
    But from the kickoff Peter O'Mahony blocks the Argentina players and Sanchez will go for goal.
  • 14:15
    PENALTY - ARGENTINA: Sanchez slots over from right in front of the posts. 
  • 14:17
    Gilroy's fancy footwork would remind you of that other Ulster wing wizard Keith Crossan. 
  • 14:18
    TRY - IRELAND: Sexton goes over after great work from Gordon D'Arcy.
  • 14:18
    Good work again by Gilroy, taking a few Argentina players out with his run. 
  • 14:19
    CONVERSION - IRELAND: Sexton adds the two points to his try.
  • 14:20
    But again Ireland give away a penalty as Keith Earls pinged for playing the ball on the ground. 
  • 14:21
    PENALTY - ARGENTINA: Sanchez makes Ireland pay again, great kick.
  • 14:23
    Ireland with a lineout on the 5 metre line and Sanchez goes off with concussion.
  • 14:24
    TRY - IRELAND: Ryan takes clean ball and Richardt Strauss goes over.
  • 14:25
    TMO awards the try after deliberating on the touchdown from the hooker.
  • 14:26
    MISSED CONVERSION - IRELAND: Sexton misses the kick from wide on the right.
  • 14:27
  • 14:28
    Ireland's backline working well, but not as good as back in 1985.
  • 14:29
    Sanchez comes back after passing the concussion test. He didn't look too smart going off a couple of minutes ago.
  • 14:30
    Gilroy is having a spellbinding full Test debut, avoiding tons of Argentine tackles so far.
  • 14:30
    Simon Zebo getting a little treatment on the pitch as Sexton kicks a penalty well into the Argentina half.
  • 14:31
    Henry takes the lineout at the front.
  • 14:32
    Argentina No 8 Leonardo Senatore shows great kicking skills to move Argentina into the Irish half.
  • 14:33
    Conor Murray penalised for offside and Sanchez will kick for goal.
  • 14:34
    PENALTY - ARGENTINA: Sanchez shows no ill effects from his bang to the head and knocks it over
  • 14:35
    Brilliant high catch from Tommy Bowe from Sexton's Garryowen.
  • 14:36
    TRY - IRELAND: Zebo goes over in the corner, all stemming from Bowe's great high take.
  • 14:37
    Ireland's young backs are having a field day here.
  • 14:38
    MISSED CONVERSION - IRELAND: Sexton hits the post with the kick.
  • 14:40
    Ireland's Craig Gilroy on his way to scoring his debut try against Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
    Ireland's Craig Gilroy on his way to scoring his debut try against Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
  • 14:41
    Penalty to Argentina after Ireland slow the release at a ruck.
  • 14:41
    MISSED PENALTY - ARGENTINA: Sanchez puts the kick right and wide. 
  • 14:44
  • 14:47
    So four tries from Ireland in the first half has certainly made a nonsense of the idea that they are not firing.Gilroy has had a stunning first 40 minutes of Test rugby, capped by the opening try, while Sexton, Bowe and Zebo have all been in fine form. Up front, Donnacha Ryan has owned the ball out of touch and Strauss has been excellent in the loose and deserved his try.   
  • 14:47
    Ireland's Craig Gilroy side steps inside Gonzalo Camacho of Argentina to score the opening try against the Pumas. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
    Ireland's Craig Gilroy side steps inside Gonzalo Camacho of Argentina to score the opening try against the Pumas. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
  • 14:48
    George Hook has high praise for Gilroy, saying it's the best debut from an Ireland wing since the blond bomber Simon Geoghegan.
  • 14:58
    And the second half is underway.
  • 14:58
    No changes on either side
  • 14:59
    Ireland on the wrong side of the ball and penalty to Argentina.
  • 15:00
    PENALTY - ARGENTINA: Sanchez opens the scoring in the second half.
  • 15:01
    Chris Henry and Richardt Strauss with some great work in the loose and Ireland get the put in at a scrum.
  • 15:02
    Great shove from the Ireland 8.
  • 15:03
    And it wins the penalty and Sexton will kick at goal.
  • 15:04
    PENALTY - IRELAND: Sexton's kick is good and the lead is back at 15 points. 
  • 15:05
    Senatore knocks on and Ireland get the ball back for the scrum.
  • 15:06
    TRY - IRELAND: Tommy Bowe gathers a kick through from Sexton and touches down for Ireland's fifth try.
  • 15:06
    25th international try in 51st appearance for Bowe.
  • 15:07
    MISSED CONVERSION - IRELAND: Sexton hits the post again. 
  • 15:08
  • 15:09

    It's the hang in the sandwich that makes Tommy so good.

  • 15:10
    TRY - IRELAND: It's getting far too easy now as Sexton scores his second try after great work from D'Arcy and Ryan.
  • 15:11
    CONVERSION - IRELAND: Sexton drills this one over from the sideline.
  • 15:13
    Argentina looked a jaded side in the second half against France last weekend and they look asleep at this stage. In fairness, it's been a long season after their inaugural participation in The Rugby Championship.
  • 15:14
    Gilroy's kick goes out on the full and it's back to Ireland's 22 for the lineout.
  • 15:16

    Penalty to Argentina as touch judge Roman Poite spots Ryan infringement at the lineout. Replay shows he had nothing to do with it.  

  • 15:17
    Attacking lineout for the Pumas.
  • 15:17
    Ireland's Simon Zebo is challenged by Argentina's Gonzalo Camacho as he scores in the corner against the Pumas at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
    Ireland's Simon Zebo is challenged by Argentina's Gonzalo Camacho as he scores in the corner against the Pumas at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
  • 15:19
    A long period of pressure on the Irish line ends with the home side getting the penalty. Just not Argentina's day.
  • 15:21
    Scappy period of play as the crowd find their voice with The Fields of Athenry getting an airing.
  • 15:22

    Gonzalo Tiesti on for Sanchez with Juan Martín Hernandez moving to outhalf.

  • 15:23
    Cian Healy back up after a bit of treatment.
  • 15:24
    Donncha O'Callaghan comes on for Mike McCarthy in the 63rd minute.
  • 15:26
    Bit of Argy-bargy going on now after what has been a pretty clean affair. 
  • 15:26
    Prop Bustos throws the ball at Healy and will go to the sin bin.
  • 15:28

    Poor lineout from Ireland and they need to regather themselves for the last 15 minutes and try and knock up a half-century of points.

  • 15:31
    Peter O'Mahony does brilliantly at the ruck to secure the ball but Strauss knocks on.
  • 15:31
    Michael Bent comes on to make his Test debut, with Mike Ross going off.
  • 15:32

    Sorry, it's Bent's second Test cap after his debut against the Springboks.

  • 15:32
    And Ireland win the penalty from the scrum.
  • 15:33
    Ryan collects but not straight from Strauss.
  • 15:34
    Gilroy takes a flying catch and makes good ground as Ireland get a penalty.
  • 15:37

    Iain Henderson comes on for his Test debut for Peter O'Mahony, while Ronan O'Gara and Eoin Reddan replace Sexton and Murray at half-back.

  • 15:38
    TRY - IRELAND: Bowe grabs his second as he gets on to Keith Earls's kick
  • 15:39
    CONVERSION - IRELAND: O'Gara adds the two points.
  • 15:41
    Another triple substitution for Ireland as Seán Cronin and David Kilcoyne replace Strauss and Healy in the frontrow, while Fergus McFadden comes in for Bowe after his two-try perfromance.
  • 15:42
    TRY - ARGENTINA: Leonardi drives over and touches down
  • 15:43

    A consolation effort from Argentina, but Ireland will not be happy after being so strong in defence all day.

  • 15:44
    Ralph Keyes gives Donnacha Ryan the man of the match for his performance. A good call.
  • 15:44
    In to the last minute now and Argentina are attacking.
  • 15:45
    TRY - ARGENTINA: Argentina captain Fernandez Lobbe goes in under the posts for another late consolation.
  • 15:46
  • 15:47
    So after what has been a miserable run of performances at Test level, Ireland leave the best to last to secure a place in the top eight of the world rankings ahead of the World Cup draw in early December.
  • 15:48
    Donnacha Ryan thanks the supporters and says he and his team-mates  are delighted to be in the top eight.
  • 15:48
    Calls it a team effort and thanks almost all his team-mates. Fair play to him. 
  • 15:50
    Guest Thanks for a great commentary. From Mick at sea in the Persian Gulf
  • 15:50
    eoin from zambia excellent result - well done ireland!!
  • 15:51

    With Paul O'Connell announcing that he may be a doubt for the Lions tour next summer, Ryan can play himself in to one of the secondrow slots in Warren Gatland's side. Declan Kidney will also be delighted with his showing. Peter O'Mahony also had a big game, while Chris Henry was his usual busy self. Plenty of plusses for the Ireland coaching team to work on ahead of the Six Nations.  

  • 15:52
    Thanks Mick, I hope you're in a boat and not just all at sea in the Persian Gulf.
  • 15:54
    Certainly the Irish management team will enjoy their Christmas break and with the likes of O'Driscoll, O'Brien, Ferris and Best to also come back into the mix, it will make a for a tough task in picking a squad for the Six Nations, let alone picking a starting XV. 
  • 16:01
  • 16:02
    Mick Geoghegan That's it on a ship called the Bergeron Tide. Ran out of tea two days ago. So this is great news
  • 16:06
    Now that is a crisis for an Irishman Mick. We'll get on to the Dept of Foreign Affairs and try and organise an airlift. Lyons or Barrys?
  • 16:09
    Mick Geoghegan Oh Barrys would be lovely. We get provisions tomorrow, but it'l be Tetley's yellow pack or some such s....
  • 16:10
    Craig Gilroy looks thrilled and well he should be. Undefeated with Ulster and now he scores on his Test debut. "Ecstatic", although he's not looking too far ahead just now.
  • 16:10
    Mick Geoghegan Got to go. Enjoy the afters.
  • 16:13
    Meanwhile in other games this afternoon, Australia have seen off a great second-half comeback from Italy to win 22-19 in Florence after being 22-6 to the good at half-time.
  • 16:14
    South Africa are leading England 16-9 with 10 minutes to go at Twickenham, while Scotland are 9-3 up against Tonga in Aberdeen.
  • 16:16
    We'll have full coverage of the Wales v New Zealand game, which gets underway at 5.15pm and now we'll concentrate on the closing stages from Twickenham.
  • 16:18
    PENALTY - ENGLAND: Owen Farrell reduces the deficit to just four points with his second penalty.
  • 16:20
    England knock-on in a great position as Chris Ashton spills the ball in tough conditions.
  • 16:21
    Just 5 minutes to go, can the Springboks hang on? 
  • 16:22
    Tonga are within 2 points of Scotland after a converted try by secondrow Lua Lokotui.
  • 16:23
    Penalty to England and a big decision for England.
  • 16:24
    England skipper Chris Robshaw goes for the penalty and the Twickenham crowd don't like the call with just 2 minutyes to go.
  • 16:24
    PENALTY - ENGLAND: Farrell makes the kick and it's a one-point game.
  • 16:25
    Just one minute to go and the Springboks are slowing things down here.
  • 16:25
    The Springboks get the lineout
  • 16:26
    And that's full-time at Twickenham as South Africa boot the ball for touch.
  • 16:27
  • 16:28
    Robshaw will get a hammering in the English media over that decision not to go for touch from the penalty and try and get a try and a win.
  • 16:32
    IRBMedia @IRBMedia

    IRB rankings update: confirmed as 2nd level seeds for RWC draw with big win over . 9th in rankings as it stands

  • 16:34

    And Scotland are now losing to Tonga 15-18 after a try from Connacht's Fetu'u Vainikolo

  • 16:37
    Tonga's chances have not been helped by a yellow card for flanker Nili Latu Langilangi.
  • 16:43
    Tonga go 6 clear after a penalty from outhalf Fangatapu Apikotoa
  • 16:45
    Penalty against Scotland with 2 minutes to go.
  • 16:47
    Penalty reversed and Steve Mafi sin-binned after foul on Rory Lawson after the whistle. One last chance for Scotland.
  • 16:48
    Nili Latu Langilangi back on for Tonga and they're back to 14 as Scotland put pressure on Tonga's line. Last play of the game.
  • 16:49
    Penalty to Scotland, who will take the scrum. 
  • 16:51
  • 16:52
    Boos at Pittodrie at what has been described as "one of the worst defeats in Scotland history".
  • 16:59
    So with two games to go this evening, Ireland supporters will be looking for New Zealand to beat Wales and France to beat Samoa. Those two results will keep Ireland in 6th position in the IRB rankings. The action gets underway at the Stade de France at 5pm.
  • 17:13
    Tonga go ahead of Scotland in the world rankings after their victory in Pittodrie.
  • 17:15
    No score after 10 minutes between France and Samoa at Stade de France.
  • 17:16
    Richie McCaw leads the All Blacks on to the Millennium Stadium pitch in Cardiff.
  • 17:18
    And Sam Warburton leads the home team out as the fireworks go off under the closed roof. Mario Balotelli would approve I'm sure.
  • 17:20
    TRY - SAMOA: Fullback David Lemi opens the scoring in Paris.
  • 17:21
    CONVERSION - TONGA: Outhalf Tusi Pisi knocks over the extras.
  • 17:22
    And here comes the Haka.
  • 17:22
    Led by Piri Weepu.
  • 17:24
    Tongues out, game on.
  • 17:25
    TRY - FRANCE: Frederic Michalak converts his own try to level matters at the Stade de France.
  • 17:27
    Two Wales players down after a frenetic opening in Cardiff. 
  • 17:28
    Andrew Hore could be in trouble for a blow to the back of the neck of Bradley Davies.
  • 17:29
    Aaron Shingler comes on for Davies. Wales prop Aaron Jarvis has also gone off after what looks like a bad knee injury.  
  • 17:29
    Scott Andrews comes on in the frontrow.
  • 17:35
    Rhys Priestland wastes a penalty opportunity by kicking the ball dead. All Blacks now on the attack.
  • 17:36
    After 30 minutes in Paris, it's all square at 7-7 between France and Samoa. 
  • 17:37
    PENALTY - NEW ZEALAND: Outhalf Aaron Cruden opens the scoring.
  • 17:41
    Great hit by Wales winger Liam Williams on New Zealand fullback Israel Dagg. 
  • 17:42
    PENALTY - FRANCE: Morgan Parra.
  • 17:46
    PENALTY - NEW ZEALAND: Cruden just makes the kick from 44 metres.
  • 17:47
    Jamie Roberts is off for Wales, with Scott Williams coming on. Three changes in the first 20 minutes from the home side. 
  • 17:48
  • 17:51
    Harsh call on Wales captain Sam Warburton and another penalty for the All Blacks.
  • 17:51
    PENALTY - NEW ZEALAND: Cruden is good from 39 metres.
  • 17:52
    Warburton was done for not releasing after the tackle, but he wasn't the tackler and stayed on his feet. 
  • 17:54

    TRY - NEW ZEALAND: Great move for the All Blacks as Liam Messam goes in for the try.

  • 17:55
    A couple of missed tackles from Wales and great handling from the All Blacks.
  • 17:55
    CONVERSION - NEW ZEALAND: Cruden makes it 4 from 4 with the boot.
  • 17:58
    The second half is underway in Paris, with France leading Samoa 10-7.
  • 18:01
    Great break from Jonathan Davies, who offloads to Liam Williams. Move eventually breaks down after a knock-on. 
  • 18:02

    Priestland again misses the corner with a penalty. The outhalf thought it was spot on but referee disagrees.

  • 18:03
    Far too many errors from Wales in the first half.
  • 18:04
    TRY - SAMOA: Joe Tekori goes over for Samoa's second try and Pisi converts,. Could we have a shock in Paris.
  • 18:05
    A Samoa victory would see them move up to 6th ahead of Ireland if they win the match.
  • 18:08
    New Zealand go for the corner with a penalty. 
  • 18:09
    TRY - NEW ZEALAND: Tony Woodcock dives over after a clean take at the lineout.
  • 18:10
    CONVERSION - NEW ZEALAND: Cruden keeps up his perfect kicking record.
  • 18:10
  • 18:21

    PENALTY - FRANCE: Michalak knocks over a penalty. Samoa still leading 14-13 in Paris. They've obviously taken their lead from Tonga's great win over Scotland. Could be a great day for the south sea islanders.  

  • 18:23
    And the second half is underway in Cardiff.
  • 18:25
    PENALTY - FRANCE: Michalak adds another penalty and France take the lead with 20 minutes to go.
  • 18:25
    PENALTY - NEW ZEALAND: Cruden makes it 6 out of 6.
  • 18:29
    Wales putting some good moves together at the start of the second half, but All Blacks counter in style after robbing possession.
  • 18:32
    TRY - NEW ZEALAND: Great stuff from the All Blacks sees secondrow Luke Romano stretch his long frame over over the line for the score.
  • 18:32
    CONVERSION - NEW ZEALAND: Cruden's 7 from 7 with a fine kick from the sideline.
  • 18:33
    10 minutes to go in Paris and France still lead 16-14.
  • 18:37
    PENALTY - FRANCE: Michalak knocks over his 3rd penalty to put 5 points between the sides.
  • 18:37
    16 points from Michalak today for France.
  • 18:40
    Five minutes to go in Paris and France five points to the good.
  • 18:41
    The Millennium Stadium give a mock cheer after Priestland finally makes touch. All 15 in the lineout.
  • 18:42
    TRY - WALES: Warren Gatland has used that before with Ireland.
  • 18:43
    Scott Williams credited with the try, which Priestland failed to convert.
  • 18:44
    PENALTY - FRANCE: Michalak knocks over his fourth penalty for the insurance score for the home side in Paris.
  • 18:45
    YELLOW CARD - NEW ZEALAND: Winger Cory Jane sent to the bin after deliberate knock-on
  • 18:46
  • 18:47

    Michalak's 19-point haul leads France to victory over Samoa and Ireland will remain in 6th position in the world rankings as Wales are well behind in Cardiff.

  • 18:49
    It also means England are out of the top tier of seeds in 5th place.
  • 18:56
    Coming up to 10 minutes left in Cardiff and the game has gone a bit flat, with plenty of replacements coming on.
  • 18:58
    As you can see from the IRB tweets, the top 4 seeds are now finalised for the 2015 World Cup.They are
    1 New Zealand 
    2 South Africa 
    3 Australia
    4 France
  • 18:59
    And Samoa move to 8th spot, leaving Argentina in the third tier.
  • 19:00
    The second tier as things stand is.
    5 England
    6 Ireland
    7 Wales
    8 Samoa
  • 19:04
    TRY - WALES: Alex Cuthbert goes in at the corner flag. 
  • 19:06
    MISSED CONVERSION - WALES: Leigh Halfpenny's attempt goes wide to the right. 
  • 19:06
    Richie McCaw gets the man of the match in Cardiff as Wales attack again.
  • 19:09
  • 19:10
    Wales now need to beat Australia in their final autumn international next weekend if they want to remain in the top 8 of the world rankings. A loss will see Samoa move to 7th and Argentina come back into the second tier.
  • 19:46
    That's all from us tonight, thanks for tuning in on an exciting day of rugby action that ends with Ireland guaranteed of a place in the second tier of countries ahead of the World Cup draw on December 3rd.