DUBLIN, Nov 10 (Reuters) - 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 scrumhalf 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 scrumhalf Luke McGrath, following a decisive lineout steal, and five more points from Sexton closed out a far from guaranteed victory. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Tony Lawrence)