Scotland Slip To Dramatic Loss

Scotland Slip To Dramatic Loss

Scotland’s recent run of Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Test victories came to an end in frustrating fashion against World Cup semi finalists Argentina at Murrayfield with a late drop-goal ensuring the Pumas snatched a 9-6 win.As underlined during last Saturday’s dramatic triumph over the Wallabies, Test matches are often determined by inches rather than miles and unfortunately on this occasion it was the men in blue who fell agonisingly short of achieving a ground-breaking goal.Afterwards, head coach Andy Robinson pinpointed the two key moments which led to Scotland experiencing a loss rather than a third successive win on home soil.Robinson said: “We have the ability to win any game, but also, as seen today, we also have the ability to lose any game.”The defining moments of the game were when we kicked the ball away with a three-on-one situation and when Nathan Hines was sin-binned.”We had opportunities to score in the first half, but we didn’t take them. There was a real lack of depth from us.   “What concerns me is our ability to finish. We need to keep the scoreboard ticking over and we didn’t do that.”We came up against a very brave Argentine defence – they swamped and suffocated us in the last 20 minutes.”Playing with unswerving courage and full-blooded commitment, Scotland kept pressing forward until the final whistle and, on reflection, there were several pluses to be taken from the performance.But the outcome ended in the favour of the battle-hardened Pumas who proved their game management skills are still top-class and that, in terms of sheer brute force, they are a difficult team to dominate.Both teams’ goal-kickers, Godman and Rodriguez, missed a couple of penalties apiece in a contest that always seemed destined to be decided by a slender margin.   Bursting with energy, Scotland started the match playing quick, expansive rugby at a high tempo which put Argentina on the back-foot.After completely controlling the first half, Scotland had chalked up a six-point half-time advantage with Phil Godman contributing two penalties.But, after the break, Argentina attacked with a renewed sense of vigour and Scotland were guilty of committing a higher error count than seen during the previous showing against Australia.Make no mistake, Argentina, unfussy and uncomplicated, proved to be an incredibly tough nut to crack at the breakdown area and their no-nonsense assertiveness caused Scotland numerous problems.As the pendulum gradually started to swing in favour of the visitors, influential lock Nathan Hines was yellow-carded on the 49-minute mark – leaving Scotland understaffed during a key phase in the game. At that same stage, Rory Lamont was withdrawn after falling awkwardly and damaging his ankle on the East Stand touchline.Argentina centre Martin Rodriguez then scored a well-struck penalty to reduce the deficit to just three points with 20 minutes of the contest remaining.Despite being a man short, Scotland surged up the other end of the pitch and should have scored , but a lack of clinical precision allowed Argentina to be let off the hook.Just before the hour-mark, another Rodriguez penalty levelled the scores, although he missed from long range seven minutes later.Scotland’s reinforcements were one-by-one hurled into the action in a bid to inject some freshness into the team’s attack and Sean Lamont, who was immense for the home side, almost provided the answer.His strong, bullocking run opened up the Argentine defence, but the final level of cohesiveness needed for a five-point score dissolved close to the try-line.Basic mistakes at the set-piece and at the breakdown were exploited by Argentina’s pack and Rodriguez sank the drop-goal with two minutes of the contest remaining to hand Scotland an undeserved first loss under the Robinson regime.In the first half, Scotland were the superior team and came close to scoring two tries, but unfortunately Argentina’s second half revival meant that those near-misses ultimately proved to be expensive.Scotland: Rory Lamont (Paterson); Sean Lamont, Ben Cairns (De Luca), Alex Grove, Thom Evans; Phil Godman, Chris Cusiter (captain, Lawson); Allan Jacobsen (Traynor), Ross Ford (Hall), Moray Low, Nathan Hines (White), Alastair Kellock, Alasdair Strokosch (Vernon), Alan MacDonald, Johnnie Beattie.Replacements: Dougie Hall, Kyle Traynor, Jason White, Richie Vernon, Rory Lawson, Chris Paterson, Nick De Luca.Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

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