Scotland 52-29 Argentina

Scotland 52-29 Argentina

A game with incident aplenty! Scotland ran in eight tries, a hat-trick from the electrifying Darcy Graham, Finn Russell orchestrating supremely, and Argentina repelled after their 2-1 Test series victory on home soil back in the summer.

Argentina had their openside Marcos Kremer sent off after 21 minutes and saw another three of his fellow pack in the sin-bin. Scotland had two yellow cards of their own – through Jamie Ritchie and Sione Tuipulotu – but, ultimately, they found a ruthless edge in the second-half.

In addition to Graham’s fireworks, all Scotland’s tries came from his fellow backs, Tuipulotu with a brace and individual counters from Duhan van der Merwe, Stuart Hogg and Cam Redpath. Russell weighed in with 12 points from the boot.

Scotland’s try assault took them past 200 touchdowns in the five years since Gregor Townsend became Scotland coach and left the home crowd in fine voice.

Former Scotland winger and Scotland 7s stalwart Lee Jones delivered today’s match ball and there was a minute’s silence to mark the death of Past President and long-serving Scotland team doctor Donald Macleod before Argentina kicked off towards the railway end through Santiago Carreras.

Scotland were penalised at the first contact for side entry and Emiliano Boffelli, well familiar within this post-code, kicked the goal (0-3, 1 mins).

A bout of kick tennis ensued which ended with an offside decision in Scotland’s favour.

At the first lineout Ritchie won the ball at the front but his attempted return pass to Fraser Brown was too hurried.

The first scrum saw Scotland penalised on Pierre Schoeman’s loosehead side but the second was altogether more secure and enabled Graham to have a scamper, which ended with the Pumas penalised for loitering after the tackle.

Scotland opted for touchline, but Hogg’s pass out of the tackle to the left wing went forward. Still, a first home score was not long delayed. Van der Merwe took a quick throw and was then involved again before a lovely sleight of hand by Russell enabled Tuipulotu to weave and bludgeon his way to a cracking first try for Scotland from about 35 metres out. Russell converted (7-3, 11 mins).

Argentina responded with some intelligent attacking kicking with Carreras leading the way, one of which forced van der Merwe to carry over to concede a scrum five.

Scotland initially appeared to have collected ball from another attempted stab kick through from Carreras, but Russell was tackled and coughed up ball and despite of Graham’s tackle on Gonzalo Bertranou, the Pumas worked ball left for Juan Cruz Mallia to dispatch Jeronimo De La Fuente in for the unconverted try (7-8, 16 mins).

Into the second quarter and the game took a dramatic twist. Argentina again were probing through attacking kicks, and Scotland were alert to the danger. But play was called back for a clearout at the preceding ruck in which Ritchie was hit in the head by the forearm of Marcos Kremer.  No mitigation was identified and the Pumas openside flanker was shown the red card in the 21st minute.

It did not take Scotland long to make their numerical advantage count. From the lineout, Ali Price did well to get a pass away in a tackle and Scotland were patient. With the referee playing an advantage, Russell threatened and with a spot of juggling that was more big-top than BT Murrayfield, van der Merwe powered onwards to dot down for his 14th try for Scotland. Russell converted (14-8, 24 mins).

Anything Duhan can do  . . .  his fellow Edinburgh wing Darcy was ready  to match. Van der Merwe and Schoeman were both involved twice in the build-up, Russell was again pulling the magician’s strings and when the long-striding Grant Gilchrist was denied at close-range, Scotland moved ball right. Chris Harris was caught when ball through the hands looked an easier option but Graham, twisting and turning like a dervish, scored a try that belied a man of his stature. It was also his 14th for his country. Russell’s conversion just ran out of gas (19-8, 28 mins).

Argentina were given a territorial reprieve as Scotland conceded three successive penalties as the half closed out. On each occasion, the visitors passed up a kick at the posts and they got their reward when Matias Alemanno churned over from close-range from a tap penalty. Boffelli converted (19-15, 39 mins).


Half-time: Scotland 19 Argentina 15


Scotland had to be unforgiving in the second-half and they certainly displayed that from the outset.  The influential Schoeman had a dunt in midfield and when ball went right, Russell, at his imperious best, broke, found space, Hogg linked and timed his pass sweetly to Graham who was in for his second try of the day. Russell missed the conversion (24-15, 42 mins).

From the restart Graham sclaffed his clearance and Julian Montoya probed down the West Stand touchline, but the ball was spilled forward, and Scotland won the subsequent scrum penalty.

On the 48th minute Alemanno was sin-binned for contact on Jonny Gray and within one minute the Pumas were further reduced – now down to 12 men as Tomas Lavanini was yellow carded for collapsing the maul.

Scotland, however, contrived to lose ball inside the Pumas 22 and when Jack Dempsey attempted an offload that was unnecessarily flash, Mallia intercepted and timed his pass like a dream to Boffelli who was in under the posts to convert his own try (24-22, 52 mins).

Argentina were still down to 12 men, but Scotland were making heavy weather of things initially. Some more direct shape from Brown up the middle and then ball whipped right saw Hogg release Tuipulotu for his second try. Russell converted to reach the 250 points mark for Scotland. (31-22, 55 mins).

Into the final quarter and Graham was again set up on the right touchline only to be denied. That set off a flurry of fisticuffs, which after prolonged study via the TMO, resulted in Thomas Gallo and Scotland captain Ritchie being sin-binned.

When everything calmed down Scotland were still in the ascendancy but Redpath, who had replaced Chris Harris, was held up over the line.

Redpath, however, was not to be denied, as he latched on to a sumptuous grubber into space from Russell to claim his first try for his country. Russell converted (38-22, 69 mins).

Ritchie returned from the sin-bin in time to see Jonny Gray win a lineout, the forwards drive, Redpath take ball in the 10-channel, Russell wrap around and Hogg to blaze over for his 27th try for Scotland. Russell converted (45-22, 73 mins).

Gray acted lineout provider again and George Turner blazed away from the driving maul for Redpath and Russell to open the door for the intruding Blair Kinghorn, off his wing, to unleash Graham for his try hat-trick.  Russell, who was player of the match by a proverbial country mile, converted to take Scotland beyond a half century. (52-22, 76 mins).

Argentina pulled back a late score with the clock six minutes into the red and Tuipulotu sent to the sin bin, through Ignacio Ruiz, which Nicolas Sanchez converted (52, 29, 86 mins).

Full-time: Scotland 52 Argentina 29


Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs); Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Harris (Gloucester), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), Duhan Van Der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby); Finn Russell (Racing 92), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors); Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson (both Glasgow Warriors), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Jamie Ritchie CAPTAIN (Edinburgh Rugby), Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors).

Subs: George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) for Brown (57 mins), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) for Schoeman (65 mins) Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors) for Zander Fagerson (65 mins), Glen Young (Edinburgh Rugby) for Gilchrist (73 mins), Andy Christie (Saracens) for Dempsey (57 mins), Ben White (London Irish) for Price (53 mins), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) for Van Der Merwe (69 mins), Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) for Harris (60 mins).


Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia for Montoya (63 mins); Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Emiliano Boffelli ; Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou ; Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya CAPTAIN, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera.

Subs: Ignacio Ruiz, Nahuel Tetas Chaparro for Delguy (62 mins), Santiago Medrano for Bello (56 mins), Lucas Paulos for De La Fuente (50 mins), Facundo Isa, Lautaro Bazan Velez for Bertranou (72 mins), Nicolas Sanchez for Carreras (60 mins), Matias Moroni for Lavanini (60 mins)


Referee: Karl Dickson (England).  Assistant referees: Luke Pearce and Ian Tempest (both England). TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia).

Famous Grouse Player of the Match: Finn Russell (Scotland)

Red card: Marcos Kremer (Argentina).

Yellow card: Matias Alemanno and Tomas Lavanini (both Argentina), Jamie Ritchie (Scotland) and Thomas Gallo (Argentina), Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland)

Attendance: 61,811.

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