Scotland complete series triumph
June 19, 2010
Scotland's John Barclary evades Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe
© PA Photos
Scotland secured a first-ever series victory over Argentina with a 13-9 victory in their clash at Mar del Plata.
The Scots withstood some intense second-half pressure to notch back-to-back victories over the Pumas after Jim Hamilton's early try had set them on course for the historic win. Hamilton forced the ball over as Scotland took less than three minutes to do what they failed to achieve in last weekend's 24-16 success in Tucuman and breach their hosts' try line.
Argentina bounced back quickly and Felipe Contepomi kicked two penalties but the home side's poor discipline allowed Scotland to gain control for the rest of the first half, although fly-half Dan Parks missed two of three penalty attempts.
The hosts dominated the second half but Scotland restricted them to one penalty goal and Parks extended their precarious lead in the 74th minute with an excellent penalty following a rare foray forward. The hard-earned triumph in torrential rain secured a third consecutive away victory for Scotland, their best run on the road since 1982, which began in Dublin and continued when Parks kicked them to victory last time out.
Andy Robinson made one change to his starting line-up with Simon Danielli recalled on the left wing and Max Evans moved inside to centre with Nick de Luca dropping out. And his team got off to a flying start when Hamilton claimed his first international try. Dan Parks set up a five-metre lineout with a penalty kick and Hamilton emerged from the resulting maul to force the ball just over the line despite attempts by two home players to stop him. Parks extended Scotland's early lead to seven points by converting a difficult kick.
The fly-half missed an ambitious drop-goal bid from just inside the Argentinian half after Robinson's side enjoyed a lengthy spell of possession, working the ball from side to side without finding space to break the home side's line. The home side began to impose themselves on the game and got off the mark in the 14th minute when Contepomi kicked a routine penalty after John Barclay had been penalised for failing to release his opponent on the ground. Hamilton committed the same offence as Argentina piled forward and Contepomi reduced to the deficit to one midway through the half.
Scotland fullback Hugo Southwell stood firm to tackle Rodrigo Roncero after the veteran prop had forced his way past two players, and the pressure was relieved when French referee Christophe Berdos awarded the visitors a penalty inside their own 22. Argentina were soon penalised for not releasing and Parks restored Scotland's four-point advantage with a huge kick from near the halfway line 26th minute.
The Scots rediscovered their attacking rhythm thanks in large part to a penetrating burst by Evans but Parks missed a penalty from the 22-metre line. Berdos warned skipper Contepomi over his side's discipline after Mario Ledesma gave away another penalty, but again Parks missed as he sliced his long-range effort. Roncero failed to heed the warning and was shown a yellow card in the 37th minute following a lineout offence but a forward pass prevented Barclay capitalising on some space inside the home side's 22.
Scotland survived an early onslaught after the restart with Southwell making a crucial interception and the tourists soon tested the handling of the Argentina's backs in the soaking conditions with some high punts. The hosts took control after numerical parity was restored but Gonzalo Tiesi knocked on and Contepomi missed a penalty from near the halfway line. But Rodriguez stroked home a penalty on the hour after an offside decision as Scotland struggled to defend a maul right in front of their tryline.
Both sides lost their captains to injury with Al Kellock going off after Contepomi but Argentina continued to dominate. However, Parks settled Scotland's nerves by kicking over from almost 40 metres and the Scots enjoyed a relatively comfortable spell despite a missed drop goal from the stand-off. The pressure returned in the closing seconds but Scott MacLeod stole possession from an Argentinian lineout to spell the end of the home side's hopes.
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