Robinson rues "madness"
September 25, 2011
Argentina celebrate while Scotland are left distraught © Getty Images
Head coach Andy Robinson believes "30 seconds of madness" have left his Scotland side on the brink of World Cup elimination following the 13-12 Pool B loss to Argentina in Wellington.
Scotland must now beat England in Auckland next Saturday to have any hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals after surrendering a six-point lead with eight minutes remaining to lose to the Pumas in torrential rain at Wellington Regional Stadium.
"Thirty seconds of madness has really cost us," Robinson reflected afterwards. "We lost the game of rugby. We got to 12-6 and I felt we were in control of the game.
"The reason why we lost this game was just a moment of dropping off concentration. That team is grieving in the dressing room. It really is. It felt it got into an outstanding position." Robinson expressed pride in his team's performance and their expansive approach to the game, but lamented the catalogue of errors in the 73rd minute which allowed Argentina to emerge victorious and cling to their hopes of reaching the last eight.
Scotland failed to collect the restart following a Dan Parks drop goal which had handed them a six-point lead, Graeme Morrison was penalised for offside and the Pumas worked it wide where Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino rounded Chris Paterson and Sean Lamont to score in the right corner.
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi converted successfully to give his side a one-point lead. Scotland also had an opportunity to triumph at the death, but Parks missed a drop goal one minute from time as it appeared Argentina gambled by straying offside.
The penalty was not given and Argentina survived. Robinson spoke with referee Wayne Barnes following the match, but refused to criticise the official. He added: "In all sport there's lots of ifs and buts.
"He (Barnes) didn't give the call when we wanted it to be given. Whether we believe it should have been given or not he didn't give the call and we're disappointed that he didn't, but that's sport."
Paterson and Ruaridh Jackson kicked a penalty apiece as Scotland took a 6-3 half-time lead after Contepomi had put Argentina in front. Contepomi levelled with a 63rd-minute penalty before Jackson stroked over a drop goal two minutes later and Parks added his own three-pointer eight minutes from time. Then Scotland imploded and Argentina took advantage.
Robinson said: "You've got to take your hat off to Argentina, to find a way of being able to win a game when in that second half I thought they were outplayed. They were able to find an answer, which is disappointing from our side, but their never-say-die attitude got them through."
Scotland claimed a losing bonus point and are now level on 10 points with Argentina, who play Georgia next Sunday. Robinson's men must win next Saturday's clash with England at Eden Park in Auckland to have any hope of preserving their record of reaching the knockout stages at every World Cup. But Argentina will now be fancied to advance if they can claim a four-try bonus point against Georgia.
Robinson said: "This is our last chance. The guys knew that it was a six-day turnaround, knew this game was going to be tough and they'll be ready to go in six days' time in Auckland.
"Come 8.30 next Saturday there will be a Scotland side very fired up and a Scotland side I believe will be able to go out and win a game. We'll have some things up our sleeve ready to play England. We've got to put ourselves into a position to win the game."
Argentina head coach Santiago Phelan hailed his side for their persistence. He said: "I think Argentina won the game because they never surrendered until the final whistle. They knew the game was 80 minutes long and they didn't give in.
"They didn't hang their heads and that was evident, especially in the final three minutes when they defended. That's what we asked of them. That's what they did so we are very happy."
Contepomi added: "We haven't achieved anything yet. Now we are in the driving seat in playing Georgia and trying to get qualification. That's what we're here for."
Former Bristol and Leinster back Contepomi admitted he and his three-quarter line had taken a chance when Parks lined up his drop goal in the dying moments. Contepomi, who also confessed to being offside, said: "Maybe it's the benefit of being the captain.
"It was a very tough decision to make. Wayne Barnes fortunately he had his back to me." Argentina lost No.8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and prop Rodrigo Roncero to injury. Fernandez Lobbe will undergo a scan on his knee tomorrow morning, while Roncero pulled a muscle and will be assessed in the coming days.
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