Sean Maitland’s try gets Scotland over the line against Argentina
Misfiring Pumas miss four kicks and let chances slip at Murrayfield
Scotland’s Sean Maitland score his side’s try during the autumn international against Argentina at Murrayfield. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Scotland 14 Argentina 9
Sean Maitland’s try ensured Scotland ended their autumn campaign on a high as they edged out a misfiring Argentina side 14-9 at Murrayfield.
Defeats to Wales and South Africa left Gregor Townsend’s side in danger of losing momentum ahead of the Six Nations.
But they got back on track as Maitland’s second-half touchdown and nine points from captain Greig Laidlaw ensured they held off the Pumas.
Scotland thrashed the South Americans by a record 29 points during the summer but there was never any danger of them repeating that six-try showing.
In fact, Townsend will consider his side fortunate not to have slumped again as the visitors missed four kicks as well as a number of decent chances from open play.
But if his plan was to run the visitors into submission, then it did not work during a scrappy opening half.
Although his team grabbed an early lead through a Laidlaw penalty, not else much went right early on as both sides struggled to keep a grip of the greasy pill.
Nicolas Sanchez missed the chance to put his team level when he missed with a kick despite being virtually in front of the posts.
Hogg was then lucky a spill under the high ball did not let the Argentinians in for the opening try, while Hastings also got off with a charged-down kick.
Emiliano Boffelli could do no better than Sanches with the boot as he tugged wide from just inside half-way before Russell’s shambolic restart attempt only succeeded in handing possession back to the Pumas as the Scots were again forced to scramble for cover inside their own 22.
Townsend’s experimental attack was struggling to click into gear as Argentina’s muscle saw them dominate the breakdown.
Sanchez finally split the posts after 28 minutes to level the score.
It was not until the half-hour mark that the Scots were able to cut loose, with a Hastings break piercing the Pumas’ defence before Sanchez’s failure to role out of the ruck handed Laidlaw another easy three points in front of the posts.
Sanchez hit back two minutes after the break with a successful penalty but saw another opportunity moments later wasted as his next kick drifted wide.
Scotland were ahead again after 55 minutes as Agustin Creevy’s high tackle on Jones was punished by Laidlaw once more.
And victory was sealed 11 minutes later as the skipper found a gap in the Pumas’ defence at last.
The Scots worked through a couple of phases wide on the right. As the Argentines expected Laidlaw to come back inside, he span and fed the ball to Hogg.
With the visitors stretched, Maitland was then given free reign to slide over in the corner.
Laidlaw’s conversion came back off the crossbar but there was no harm done as Sanchez’s boot let him down again with another penalty miss.
Argentina’s profligacy reared its ahead again when Jeronimo De La Fuente knocked on just as the whitewash came into sight but a Sanchez penalty cut the deficit back to five with six minutes left.
Laidlaw also missed in stoppage time but an important victory was already in the bag and the Scots can now look ahead to February’s Six Nations opener at home to Italy with confidence.