Joe Schmidt sees Ireland’s victory over Argentina as another test passed as the overcame a physical Pumas side in a closely-fought encounter.
During a game in which the lead changed hands on eight occasions at the Aviva Stadium, Ireland scored tries through Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki and Luke McGrath but it was 13 points from the boot of Jonny Sexton that made the rela difference.
Bautista Delguy’s slick score, combined with four Nicolas Sanchez penalties, kept Argentina in touch as the hosts were made to work hard before earning a record tenth home win in a row.
Their lineout struggled at times but the scrum was dominant and the replacements demonstrated what squad depth has been developed under Schmidt by impressing in the second half.
And with New Zealand on the horizon next week, the coach knows there is plenty to work on, although believes the Pumas clash was proper Test match rugby.
“It was a real Test match, really arduous,” said Schmidt. “They were hard at the back, hard off the ruck and hard off the line and really squeezed us.
“They put some great pressure on our lineout and we struggled, but we got into the game on the back of our scrum, which was very good.
“There’s lots to work on. It’s not as surprising as, I suppose, it would have been had we had a full preparation or we hadn’t had late changes.
“But that’s a good way for us to try to cope and test ourselves against a really good side, which we know Argentina are.”
‘You want to play against the best’
Meanwhile, captain Rory Best made his first international appearance since the Six Nations earlier this year and is now targeting an historic victory over the All Blacks – although appreciates improvements will have to be forthcoming.
“There’s a lot to work on and we know next week against New Zealand is a big step up,” he said. “We know we are going to have to be a lot better.
“We want to go out and win and keep this home record we have. We want to win every game we can.
“It will be really tough next week, we are going to have to go and make it happen, it’s not just going to come to us. We are going to have to prepare well and play a lot better than we did here.
“Even the things we did well, we can probably do a little bit better. New Zealand will put us under a lot more pressure and it’s a massive challenge for us but that’s why we play Test rugby. You want to play against the best teams in the world and have a shot at them.”