Pumas into unchartered waters with win
October 7, 2007
Manuel Contepomi celebrates victory over Scotland
© Getty Images
Argentina kept their composure to overcome Scotland in a tense quarter final, as the South Americans were able to hold on and set up a semi final meeting with South Africa.
A penalty each from Parks and Chris Paterson kept the Scots' fading semi-final hopes alive, but their failure to threaten Argentina's line even once was concerning.
Juan Martin Hernandez, one of the stars of the World Cup, made an uncharacteristically shaky start by directing an early drop goal wide and then booting the ball out of bounds. A flurry of aerial bombardment ensued which Scotland just about edged, but the lack of running reduced the Stade de France to eerie silence.
The crowd jeered when Hernandez launched yet another ineffectual bomb and Argentina, who had performed heroics in the tournament so far, were not winning any new fans.
Felipe Contepomi finally took the ball into contact but the respite from the kicking was brief.
Argentina won a penalty for obstruction at the line-out which Contepomi, who had recovered from flu in time to keep his place in the side, pulled wide.
Dan Parks succeeded where Contepomi had failed, landing a long-range three points after scrum-half Mike Blair had been taken out in the air.
A high tackle by lock Nathan Hines on Hernandez gave Contepomi another shot at goal and this time the Leinster centre was on target. More boos rang out as Hernandez, tiring of the lack of penetration from his pack, attempted another drop goal but this went the same way as the first.
Contepomi slotted his second penalty and Argentina followed up the score with some promising work down the right that was ended when Sean Lamont shoved Ignacio Corleto into touch.
Disaster struck in the 33rd minute when Parks' clearance was charged down by Longo Elia and the Pumas number eight surged ahead in search of the ball.
It took an unkind bounce for Sean Lamont and his brother Rory, playing at full-back, and Elia pounced on the loose ball and collapsed over the line.
Contepomi added the conversion to send Argentina 13-3 ahead but Paterson responded with a penalty to keep the opposition in touching distance.
Contepomi opened the second half with a routine penalty as Argentina's limited but effective pressure game continued to grind the Scots into submission. A mishit shot at goal by Parks saw Scotland's flawless kicking record at the World Cup come to an end, damaging their fading semi-final hopes at the same time.
There was no escaping Scotland's limitations as their one-dimensional gameplan, which was enough to edge Italy, repeatedly carried them to a dead end at the Stade de France.
They had hardly ventured into the opposition 22 all match, let alone threaten the rock-solid Argentinian line.
Hernandez finally succeeded with a drop goal to give the Pumas a seemingly unassailable 19-6 lead and Hadden's decision to empty the bench in the 57th minute had a hint of desperation about it.
A bulldozing run from substitute prop Craig Smith brought the suffering Scotland fans to their feet but there was better still to come as they finally breached the whitewash. They probed down the left flank and when Argentina had run out of tacklers, Kelly Brown found Chris Cusiter with an inside pass and the scrum-half scampered over.
With 15 minutes to go, a glimmer of hope had opened up.
Scotland looked to break from their own half but conceded a turnover and were consistently met by a wall of determined Pumas.
A late flourish cranked up the pressure on the South Americans' line with Patricio Albacete collapsing on Paterson to concede a penalty which the Gloucester winger sent into touch.
The line-out was won comfortably and Scotland set themselves up for the death-or-glory score they needed to progress to the last eight.
Parks attempted to unlock Argentina's defence with a crossfield chip but the kick sailed out and the Pumas held on to book a last-eight appointment with South Africa.
Argentina (13) 19
Scotland (6) 13
Argentina: I Corleto; L Borges, M Contepomi, F Contepomi, H Agulla; JM Hernandez, A Pichot; R Roncero, M Ledesma, M Scelzo, I Fernandez Lobbe, P Albacete, L Ostiglia, JM Fernandez Lobbe, G Longo Elia.
Replacements: A Basualdo, O Hasan, R Alvarez Kairelis, JM Leguizamon, N Fernandez Miranda, F Todeschini, H Senillosa.
Scotland:R Lamont (Sale Sharks); S Lamont (Northampton), S Webster (Edinburgh), R Dewey (Ulster), C Paterson (Gloucester); D Parks (Glasgow Warriors), M Blair (Edinburgh); G Kerr (Edinburgh), R Ford (Glasgow Warriors), E Murray (Northampton), N Hines (Perpignan), J Hamilton (Leicester), J White (Sale Sharks), S Taylor (Stade Francais), A Hogg (Edinburgh)
Replacements: S Lawson (Sale Sharks), C Smith (Edinburgh), S MacLeod (Llanelli), K Brown (Glasgow Warriors), C Cusiter (Perpignan), A Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), H Southwell (Edinburgh).
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