Scotland battle past Argentina
MATCH REPORT: Scotland beat Argentina 14-9 in their final November Test on Saturday thanks to a second-half try from Sean Maitland.
Wing Maitland crossed with a quarter of an hour remaining after nine points from the boot of scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw. Nicolas Sanchez scored three penalty goals for the Pumas.
Captain and scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw kicked three penalties from four attempts to help them past Argentina, who paid the price for failing with four of their seven kicks at the post.
The Pumas’ record points scorer Nicolas Sanchez nailed just three of his six efforts while fullback Emiliano Bofelli also pushed one wide.
The defeat – their fifth in a row against the Scots – means Argentina head into their final match of the year, against the Barbarians at Twickenham next week, on a five-match losing streak.
Scotland attacked from the kick off and when prop Santiago Medrano was penalised for offside Laidlaw stepped up to give the hosts a 3-0 lead with three minutes on the clock.
Six minutes later the Pumas ought to have levelled the scores but Sanchez sliced his first penalty attempt wide of the target from 25 metres out, head on to the posts.
The play from both side was pedestrian and Scotland fly half Adam Hastings put his side in trouble with a telegraphed attempted clearance kick that was charged down, leading to the Glasgow player having to hastily backtrack to touch down the loose ball in his team’s in-goal area.
A high tackle by Hastings on winger Ramiro Moyano provided Argentina with a second penalty shot after 22 minutes and this time it was the turn of Bofelli to push his effort wide.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend experimented, with his first choice fly half Finn Russell starting at inside centre for the first time but the Racing 92 pivot was also off-form, making a hash of a 22 metre drop out and forcing his centre partner Huw Jones to race to the left corner to beat Moyano to a touchdown.
It took Argentina 27 minutes to get points on the board, Sanchez making no mistake with a penalty, but five minutes later Scotland were back in front thanks to reliable Laidlaw landing his second penalty.
Three minutes into the second-half Hastings conceded another penalty and Sanchez squared the contest at 6-6, before pushing wide another attempt that would have put his side in front for the first time.
Instead, it was the Scots who regained the lead courtesy of a third Laidlaw penalty after a high tackle on Jones by veteran hooker Agustin Creevy.
Going into the final quarter, Townsend restored Russell to outside half, replacing Hastings with inside centre Alex Dunbar.
It gave the Scots just enough composure to finish the job. After Sanchez missed a third penalty, Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg fed Maitland for a 65th minute try in the right corner.
Laidlaw hit the posts with his conversion attempt, but Argentina’s response was limited to Sanchez firing home a third penalty.
Pens: Laidlaw 3
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Finn Russell, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Greg Laidlaw (c), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Allan Dell
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 George Horne, 22 Alex Dunbar, 23 Byron McGuigan
Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Rodrigo Bruni, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Augustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Sebastián Cancelliere
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Dan Jones (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)