Match Review: Argentina 13-12 Scotland

Sporting Argentine philosopher Jorge Valdano. Not pictured: shit on a stick.

Argentina grabbed the win with the only bit of magic in the match. It was leader Felipe Contempomi’s best moment, in conjuction with his conversion, the only mildly difficuly kick he got all game. A wonderful finish to a tight and hard game.

The Scots had switched off having gone 6 points up, gave away a cheap, dirty penalty thinking perhaps that the distance was too much for Argentina. Barnes played a good advantage and Contempomi and Amorosino made the most with a great try.

Scotland will feel hard done by though, because it was them who had the better game plan and the better execution. Argentina played just as Argentina play anyway, physical, limited 10 man rugby, really hungry for turnovers which both force and concede penalties. Without the same power from fullback and outhalf as last time around, they are a much weaker team though. Their inability to kick points could really have haunted them again as it did against England.

Scotland did as they planned and moved them around. Max Evans (especially) and Lamont were both really important in this facet and both had very good games. By doing this Scotland avoided just bluntly taking the ball up slowly near a well organized defence. Their game plan was stated prior to the game and a team picked accordingly by Robinson to carry it out.

Argentina’s old campaigners were quite patently suffering. Leguizamon played much of the game on one leg. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe injured early. Roncero injured early, Ledesma made very little impact. This may be due to the fact that these are aging players who are past their primes, or due to the fact that they make few lineup changes over the course of a very physical group.

Aside from the try the other key moments came from Park’s risky long penalty to touch that Amorosino fumbled when he could have caught and cleared long. Scotland some what disappointingly never even looked for a try, quite obvious that they merely wanted to shuffle inside for the dropgoal. Lack of ambition/pragmatism was key to their failure to win in the end.

That said, it took another Wayne Barnes World Cup Clanger in an emotionally charged match to undo their plans. Apart from interfering in the breakdown, Felipe Contepomi seemed to be a couple of metres offside forcing Parks onto his left foot. The fact that he still went for the drop goal off that poor quality ball showed how little else Scotland had up their sleeve; still, Barnes should have pinged the Argentines.

Weather conditions made the game even more of a dog than one would expect. As one famous Argentine sporting philospher would have described it: “Put a stick with shit hanging from it in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it’s a work of art. It’s not: it’s shit hanging from a stick.” But this was pure cup rugby. About pressure and intensity, not skills. Great finale and tension, but low standard of attacking.

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