Acting captain Jamie Heaslip admitted Ireland gave themselves too much to do as a dismal start saw them eliminated from the World Cup by Argentina.
The Pumas stormed out to a 17-0 lead inside the first quarter-hour and although Joe Schmidt’s side rallied and cut the deficit to 23-20 at one stage, tries from Joaquin Tuculet and Juan Imhoff – the wing’s second score – killed them off as Argentina ran out 43-20 winners.
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Heaslip told ITV: “We’re obviously very disappointed to lose in such a big game.
“We didn’t help ourselves at the start but we fought back, we came back in it, but we gave ourselves too much (to do) at the start.
“Argentina played a very expansive game, they stretched us and they took their scores when they got them.
“We got it back to three points and they took their opportunities again to kick on, and we just couldn’t take our opportunities.”
Matias Moroni and Imhoff scored early tries for Argentina and Nicolas Sanchez kicked 23 points, meaning Luke Fitzgerald and Jordi Murphy’s tries and Ian Madigan’s 10 points for Ireland were in vain.
Imhoff told ITV: “It was a very tough game, we worked a lot to get this victory.
“Now we will enjoy this victory but next week we will have another tough game.”
Argentina’s entry into the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship, alongside Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, has been credited with much of their recent improvement – they finished above the Proteas in this year’s standings.
And Imhoff said: “Now we are a really good team in offence, we attack very well, but today we had a defence to make the difference.”