O'Gara seals season in impressive style

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The Independent Online

Ireland finished off their marathon 14-match season with an emphatic 40-14 victory over Samoa in Apia, with fly-half Ronan O'Gara scoring 32 points in an all-round impressive team effort. In temperatures of 35 degrees, Eddie O'Sullivan's side were in total control of proceedings, and Ireland went into an early lead with two sweetly struck penalties from O'Gara in the 10th and 14th minutes.

The pattern changed briefly when Ron Fanuatanu touched down in the left-hand corner, but O'Gara knocked over his third penalty to give Ireland a 9-7 half-time lead. The Irish began the second half on the front foot when O'Gara kicked his fourth penalty, then threw a dummy to deceive his opposite number and touched down under the posts. Further tries from Eric Miller and a second from O'Gara finished the game as a contest. O'Gara completed his haul with a stunning drop goal on 70 minutes, and when the Munster man was replaced, substitute Paul Burke kicked a penalty to take the Irish total above 40.

Meanwhile, Gonzalo Quesada claimed a last-minute drop goal in Buenos Aires to give Argentina a 33-32 victory over France in the second Test, their third successive win over the Europeans.

France, making seven changes to the team who lost the first Test 10-6, trailed 21-12 at half-time but bounced back to lead 32-30 before fly-half Quesada added to the five penalties and one conversion he had scored earlier in the match.

The Pumas made a flying start as new full-back Juan Hernandez dived over for a try in the fifth minute. Two French penalties from fly-half Yann Delaigue were followed by Argentina's second try, by Jose Orengo. France hit back in the second half with Yannick Jauzion scoring their first try of the tour, but the boot of Quesada kept Argentina ahead until a try by Pepito Elhorga and a conversion gave France the lead.

Quesada and Michalak scored further penalties before the fly-half's drop goal won the game for the South Americans. The Pumas' victory came at a cost, captain Lisandro Arbizu likely to miss the Test against South Africa on Saturday with concussion.