Sloppy Ireland find their rhythm to see off Argentina
A sloppy Ireland put a poor first period behind them on Saturday to emerge 28-17 winners over Argentina in an unconvincing warm-up to next week's meeting of the world's top two teams when New Zealand visit Dublin.
Ireland's error-strewn first half was salvaged by a dominant scrum that served up tries for scrum-half Kieran Marmion and centre Bundee Aki either side of a Bautista Delguy effort for the more dangerous Argentines.
Nicolas Sanchez put the visitors ahead with a penalty just after the break before opposite number Johnny Sexton nudged the increasingly more composed Irish back in front 18-17 to set up a potentially thrilling final quarter.
However Ireland looked far more like the team that had won 15 of their last 16 tests and a try from replacement scrum-half Luke McGrath, following a decisive lineout steal, and five more points from Sexton closed out a far from guaranteed victory.
"A lot of things we can do better out there. We have to move on but we'll take that result. We had to dig really deep," man-of-the-match James Ryan said in a pitchside interview.
The home side's day, however, was marred by the news that flanker Sean O'Brien, forced off through injury, had broken his arm.