• Scotland's John Barclay is tackled by Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe during the test. Pic PA
At the end of the match, Andy Robinson was left standing on his own
on the pitchside, ignoring the downpour with his phone stuck to his ear,
passing the good news on to his family back home. If he wasn't singing, the Scotland coach was at least smiling in the rain.
"I think that this series win gives us belief inwhatweare trying to do," said the little Englishman. "There are times when you have to win ugly and win with courage and we showed a lot of courage out there. I also thought that the bench did very well for us,they all came on and played very well."
Flanker John Barclay emerged as the man of the match, just reward for
an outstanding season. The Scots got points on the board early and, whether by design or accident, pretty much closed up shop. The home side chased hard on the Scots' heels and almost caught them, closing the gap to just one point in the middle of the second half. Robinson's
men were under the cosh for much of the final quarter but these Scots have some steel about them. They dug deep and held firm for the victory, with Dan Parks kicking his second penalty inside the final five minutes to give them a four-point lead. They needed it.
When Argentina were awarded a kickable penalty right at the death,
they had to opt foranattacking lineout because three points were not enough. The alarm bells were ringing in the Scotland camp but Scott MacLeod rose magnificently at the sidelines to steal the throw and Mike Blair hoofed the ball into the skylights to signal celebrations. The weary Scots could barely raise their arms.
Scotland's third-minute try, the only one of the match, was simplicity itself. The Argentine midfield were too quick out off the blocks and from his own half of the field Parks kicked an inch perfect touch-finder. Johnnie Beattie caught the lineout and drove for the line, Moray Low followed and, third time lucky, Jim Hamilton stretched
out a long arm for the try. After arriving intent on revenge, the Pumas
had the stuffing knocked out of them almost before the game has started.
Attack your enemy at his strongest point, if only to prove a point, and for the second week running the Scots did just that. The scrum is supposedly the Pumas'strongsuitbutthe visitorsnever took a backward step, with Low growing in authority with every outing, although they were undoubtedly helped when Rodrigo Roncero was sin-binned just before half time after repeated infringements around the field.
Parks had a mixed day with the boot. He kicked poorly from hand, allowing the Argentine full-back Martin Rodriguez too much time and space to collect the Garryowens he sent into the wet sky. A couple of cross-field kicks were also over-cooked and it was a similar story in front of the sticks.He managed a brilliant touch-line conversion of Hamilton's try and a 53-yard penalty in the first half before he fluffed two much simpler chances and went wide with two hurried drop goals. Thankfully his second penalty around the 75-minute mark found its mark.
Both teams started this match playing with ball in hand before deciding
better of it as the miserable weather worsened. Max Evans had the best
break of the game but while Rory Lawson was in support the scrum-half
was the only Scot to be seen. The match deteriorated as a spectacle in
the second half with just two penalties added, one to each team.
The Argentines were desperately disappointing for the second Saturday
running. Felipe Contepomi kicked two first-half penalties and Roncero enjoyed one rumble into the heart of the Scottish defence before Hugo Southwell finally decided to end his fun but they were over-reliant on Contepomi's boot and it wasn't at its best. Southwell was pressed into action but never pressured into making a mistake. In the second half the Pumass truggled to get to grips with the weather and the wet ball, making too many handling errors as they forced the play.
Contepomi attempted a long-range penalty from the same spot that Parks
had enjoyed success in the first half but the Argentine fly-half couldn't match the Aussie for line or length. Only on the 60-minute mark did Argentina look truly dangerous when Rodriguez sparked them into action with a neat chip and chase. ThePumas' forwards carried the ball in an endless procession of pick and drives close to the Scottish line that finally got the crowd out of their seats.
They jeered and cheered and willed their heroes to score a try but the Scots defence held firm and those few minutes on the barricades probably
did as much to win this series as anything else that happened over the 160 minutes of rugby on offer. Instead of a try, Argentina had to make do with a penalty from Rodriguez which narrowed the gap to just one point but that was as close as they got.
Argentina: M Rodriguez, L Gonzalez, G Tiesi, S Fernandez, H Agulla; F Contepomi (Carballo 65 min), A Figuerola, R Roncero, M Ledesma (Creevy
65 min), M Scelzo, M Carizza, P Albacete, G Fessia, JM Leguizamon (Campos 47 min) JM Fernandez Lobbe.
Scotland: H Southwell, S Lamont, M Evans (De Luca 72 min), G Morrison, S Danielli; D Parks, R Lawson (Blair 71 min); A Jacobsen (Dickinson 65 min), R Ford (Lawson 70 min), M Low, J Hamilton, A Kellock (MacLeod 60 min), K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie (Strokosch 65 min)
Scorers: Argentina: Try: Conv: Pen:Contepomi (2), Rodriguez.
Scotland: Try: Hamilton Conv:Parks Pen: Parks (2)
Referee: C Berdos (FFR).