Pumas late-try rescues Cup campaign

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Scotland's "30 seconds of madness" in letting Argentina off the hook has set the scene for a grandstand finish in Pool B of Rugby World Cup 2011.

Urged on by their rain-sodden army of travelling supporters, Los Pumas rescued their 2011 campaign with a 13-12 win thanks to a late try from replacement back Lucas González Amorosini .

The victory lifted them into second place in the pool, although not yet a quarter final berth.

The odds are now weighted against third-placed Scotland continuing their record of making the knock-out stage of every World Cup to date, although beating England next week - and beating them well - would improve their chances.

"Thirty seconds of madness has really cost us," Scotland coach Andy Robinson said of the lapse of concentration that allowed the try, but he also acknowledged Argentina's fighting spirit.

"I think in the second half they were outplayed, but they managed to find an answer.

Taking their chances

"To score a try the way they did, it was Argentina that wanted to win. They took their chance well and won the game. They had to find some answers and they did."

Argentine captain Felipe Contepomi agreed Scotland were probably the better team on the night, but said their own experience at this tournament showed the better team does not always win.

"I think maybe he (Robinson) is right and they were probably better than us, but rugby is a game of 80 minutes.

"I think against England we lost the plot for about 30 seconds and let them score and felt maybe we played better than them but we lost (13-9).

"Today it was for us, I hope next week it is for them against England."

The conditions were cold and wet, with the added complication of a swirling wind that made kicking and catching difficult. But Argentina did not help their cause with occasional unforced fumbles that had nothing to do with the weather.

Better at the breakdown

Scotland generally held the powerful Pumas scrum, although not completely, losing two of their own scrums. However the Scots made up for it with a better lineout, pinching four of Argentina's 12 throws and forcing them to think carefully about putting the ball into touch.

Despite the constant rain, Scotland stuck to Robinson's pre-match plan to run the ball, forcing the Pumas to make 121 tackles to Scotland's 92.

But the Argentine defence was solid - especially so in the last seven minutes after they had hit the front - and they were generally better at the breakdown.

Argentina are now equal with Scotland on 10 points but ahead on for-and-against, with both behind England (14 points).

If all three teams finish on the same number of points, the qualifiers would be determined by a ranking system based on head-to-head results, followed by points differential, tries differential, total points scored, total tries scored and, if all else fails to separate them, their position on the IRB Official World Rankings.

Argentina's final opponent is Georgia, who play midweek against Romania and will have a short turnaround for the match on 2 October.