Scots look to tame Pumas
September 23, 2011
Scotland have so far overcome two physical battles, against Romania and Georgia in Pool B © Getty Images
Scotland face Argentina in Wellington on Sunday in a decisive match for their 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign.
Victory would guarantee them progression into the knock out phases of the competition and set the Scots on course for a Pool decider against England. Defeat, however, would sending them into the final match needing to beat England to keep their World Cup alive.
Coach Andy Robinson has made some big selection calls with skipper Alastair Kellock and fly-half Dan Parks left out of the team with Jim Hamilton and Ruaridh Jackson taking central roles. The changes reflect Robinson's desire to ensure a stable scrum and a backline intent of running the ball.
Argentina followed up their disappointing defeat to England in their opening games with a liberating demolition of Romania. After losing their last three games against Scotland on their own soil, and only coming away with one victory at Murrayfield in their last four encounters, Argentina will have revenge in their minds.
Argentina - Player to Watch: Felipe Contepomi is back in the Argentina midfield following a rib injury and, despite starting at No.12, he will be central to the Pumas gameplan.
Argentina - Team News: Contepomi returns to the starting XV at inside centre with Martin Rodriguez moving to fullback and Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino dropping to the bench. Santiago Fernández retains the fly-half jersey. In the only other change to the starting XV Julio Farias Cabello replaces Alejandro Campos in the back row.
Scotland - Player to Watch: Chris Paterson returns to the Scottish starting 15 and, although Scotland will look to utilise him in attack, his accuracy from the tee could be crucial in what promises to be a tight match.
Scotland - Team News: Scrum-half Rory Lawson is handed the captaincy with lock Alastair Kellock omitted from the matchday squad. Coach Andy Robinson pairs Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton in the second-row with Nathan Hines on the bench. Geoff Cross and John Barclay return to the pack while Ruaridh Jackson is preferred to Dan Parks at fly-half. Chris Paterson takes the No.15 shirt.
Key Battle: With Euan Murray absent due to his religious beliefs, Geoff Cross is drafted in to anchor Scotland's scrum against Argentine loose-head Rodrigo Roncero. Cross and his tight-five team-mates will be desperate to hold the experienced Argentine pack and create a stable platform for the backs.
Stats: Chris Paterson is Scotland's all-time leading points score in Test matches with 800 points.
Trivia: Scotland have won three of the last four encounters between the two nations - all in Argentina.
""This match will define a lot of things for us, maybe for Scotland as well. Next Sunday is our chance for revenge against them and we will try to win. It is a big game for us"
"I also believe that Argentina - as they have demonstrated already in the last two months - are a better team than we faced on their soil last year"
Prediction: The teams selected suggest that both sides will attempt to play with ball in hand but ultimately the battle up front and the duel of the kickers will decide this fierce and tight clash. Scotland to gain enough parity up front for the added kicking accuracy of Chris Paterson to clinch the victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker