Scotland wary of Windy City decider
September 20, 2011
If selected fly-half Dan Parks will have a crucial role to play for Scotland against Argentina © Getty Images
Accuracy with the boot will be of paramount importance if Scotland are to win Sunday's vital World Cup Pool B clash with Argentina and progress to the quarter-finals.
Victory over the Pumas would result in a sixth successive win for Scotland and take Andy Robinson's men to the last eight following the wins over Romania and Georgia and with the final group game against England to come.
In the Wellington Regional Arena - a harbour-side stadium in the New Zealand capital, known as the Cake Tin, where the wind can have a major effect - kicking from hand and at goal will be key to success.
Scotland kicking coach Duncan Hodge knows it is imperative whoever is given the goalkicking duties - whether it is full-back Chris Paterson, Dan Parks or Ruaridh Jackson - has a high success rate.
Former Scotland fly-half Hodge said: "Goalkicking's important in any game and it's going to be important at the weekend. The stadium we're playing in on Sunday is a low stadium so wind will definitely have an effect."
Scotland's first experience of the stadium will come at the captain's run, little more than 24 hours before kick-off, and Hodge says the players must be able to adapt to the conditions. "We just have to get used to it," he said. "We could get there on Saturday and the wind will come from one direction and on Sunday it will come from another."
Scotland have won three of their last four matches against the Pumas - they have won four of the 12 meetings between the teams, all bar two of which have been settled by a single-figure margin - including a 2-0 Test series win in Argentina in June 2010, and are optimistic of success.
"They're obviously a very good side," he said. "We need to probably improve on the last two games, but we're confident for Sunday. They have a great kicking game and some great individual players. They score a lot of points, so it's important to maintain possession, and they have a good defensive pack as well."
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi missed their 43-8 defeat of Romania with a rib injury sustained in the 13-9 loss to England. The former Bristol and Leinster fly-half, now at Stade Francais, is expected to play on Sunday, but Hodge does not believe his absence would change the Pumas' approach.
"He's the talisman for them, he's a big player, he's a guy we know well through his time playing in Europe," Hodge said. "I don't think it will alter massively how Argentina play, but individually he is quite unique."
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league