Scotland aiming to overtake Argentina in world rankings

Defeat for the Scots could have knock-on effects in terms of seeding for World Cup

Magnus Bradbury: Edinburgh flanker will make his Scotland debut against Argentina. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Magnus Bradbury: Edinburgh flanker will make his Scotland debut against Argentina. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

Incoming Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, who takes over next summer, could be left with a nasty hangover of the Vern Cotter era should Scotland lose out to Argentina at Murrayfield.

Scotland – ranked ninth in the world, one place behind the Pumas – can overtake the South Americans with a win at Murrayfield. Defeat, however, could have grave knock-on effects for their World Cup hopes.

The draw for Japan 2019 takes place next May – two and a half years before the competition kicks off – and governing body World Rugby will use the rankings to calculate the seeding for the pool stage.

If Scotland end up outside the top eight, they face the daunting prospect of having to overcome two major nations to make the quarter-finals.

Defence coach Matt Taylor said: “We have talked about winning and the processes we need to win, but we haven’t said we need to win because of our ranking. We know in the back of our minds it’s important but so is winning every Test match.

“You’re right to say this game has more importance in that sense but does that add pressure by saying that to the players? We’re not preparing any less but of course we understand it. We’re just looking to win first and foremost.”

The Scots suffered yet another painful lesson last week against Australia as they let the Wallabies snatch a late victory. It is not the first time Taylor has seen that particular episode play out but he sees reasons to be optimistic.

Poor decision

“I think we are ready to take on the onus of leading matches,” he said.

“We just need to get better at making some of those decisions. When you go up against one of the world’s best teams like Australia you only need to make one poor decision and it can affect you.”

Meanwhile, backrower John Barclay reckons debutant Magnus Bradbury will take his Scotland debut in his stride.

The veteran Scarlets forward has offered to put a reassuring arm round the 22-year-old Edinburgh flanker but believes it will not be necessary.

He said: “I’ve had a few chats with Magnus. I remember being that guy making my debut and it’s very nerve-racking so anything I can do to help them I will, obviously. All I’d say to Magnus is make sure you know what you are doing because if you are in the game and you are thinking about it then you’re not doing it. But I think he will be fine – he is a big boy, he knows what he is doing.

“Young guys these days don’t seem to worry as much and hold that nervousness which I remember I did back in the day. They just go out there and just play.”

SCOTLAND: S Hogg; S Maitland, H Jones, A Dunbar, T Seymour); F Russell, G Laidlaw; A Dell, F Brown, Z Fagerson, G Gilchrist, J Gray, M Bradbury, H Watson, J Barclay. Replacements: R Ford, A Allan, M Low, T Swinson, R Wilson, A Price, P Horne, T Visser.

ARGENTINA: J Tuculet; M Moroni, M Orlando, J M Hernandez, S Cordero; N Sanchez, M Landajo; L Noguera, A Creevy (capt), R Herrera, G Petti, M Alemanno, P Matera, J Ortega Desio, F Isa. Replacements: J Montoya, S Garcia Botta, E Pieretto, L Senatore, J M Leguizamon, T Cubelli, J de la Fuente, J P Estelles.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand).

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.