Lucky charm Al Kellock proud to lead Scots to historic triumph

AHEAD of Saturday's match Al Kellock said he would happily collect a few more stitches if it meant he could pick up another victory and some more silverware. Sure enough a bloodied and bruised Scotland captain duly accepted the Personnal Cup (sponsored by a mobile phone company) in Mar del Plata after his team completed a historic double over Argentina.

It's the third cup Kellock has accepted this season and Robinson must be tempted to keep the lucky mascot as captain since he has the luxury of picking from any one of three top class scrum-halves after Rory Lawson again proved himself more than capable at this level.

"I watched about 75 per cent of it," said the Scotland captain who finished the match on the side of the pitch after a head wound. "I tried to get away from the sidelines and into the stand but I couldn't find a way so I stood behind the dugout. It was terrible watching, I didn't envisage myself ending the season that way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I love being captain of Scotland," Kellock continued. "It's a huge ambition of mine, I grew up dreaming about being Scotland captain, but Chris (Cusiter] is a fantastic captain. I am a great believer of the habit of winning, it's a hard habit to get into but it's also a hard habit to lose once you have it. We got a close result going in our favour."

Andy Robinson has been on a mission to rehabilitate his coaching credentials ever since being jettisoned by Twickenham four years ago and Saturday was another important stepping stone for both the Englishman and the Scottish team that he coaches.

This may not be a vintage Argentina team but any win against a side that was ranked above them, and on hostile territory, is more than welcome. Make no mistake, this Scotland team are far from the finished article but they are stuffy, combative and fiercely competitive, virtues that go a long way in Test match rugby. Scotland should now swap positions with Argentina in the IRB rankings, jumping to seventh place – equalling their all time high.

Robinson's men won in Mar Del Plata – to seal Scotland's first away Test series win – thanks to a Jim Hamilton try just three minutes into the game and the inevitable contribution from Dan Parks' boot. The fly-half added one conversion and two penalties to the tally, one in each half of the match, but Scotland should have won by more such was their domination, especially of the first-half. They would have too had Parks not missed two other penalties and a brace of drop goals.

Still, the Aussie nailed them when they mattered most, kicking his second penalty five minutes from time which gave Scotland some welcome breathing space.

Argentina were disappointing for the second week in succession and they desperately need some fresh blood, younger, more dynamic forwards and some cutting edge in the backs.

They were over-reliant on Felipe Contepomi. The fly-half was a little ordinary when he was on the pitch and he departed after a Danielli tackle that did for him with 20-odd minutes still to play. The thought of this side competing in the Southern Hemisphere's "Four Nations" from 2012 onwards cannot fill any genuine rugby fan with anything other than cold, cloying dread.

Worst of all the Pumas were beaten in what has always been viewed as their strongest suit, the front five forward battle. If the lineout was more or less shared, Scotland definitely shaded the set scrum and were unlucky not to win a couple of penalties, at one point forcing the Pumas front row back and up. On this form Moray Low is going to make Euan Murray work awful hard to earn his starting place back and Allan Jacobsen is enjoying the best form of his life.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If the backs could not conjure up that elusive try it wasn't really the day for it. There had been a heap of rain overnight and the spectacle was undermined by a more or less constant downpour. The conditions curtailed any ambition to play with the ball in hand so, following an ambitious opening quarter, both teams resorted to kick and chase tactics and neither side executed the ploy terribly well.

Contepomi slotted two first-half penalties and, for a brief moment, it looked like Scotland had caught their hosts' indiscipline from last weekend. Thankfully it didn't last and the Scots proceeded to play long periods of the first-half in Argentina territory. They were less convincing in the second-half when Argentina were able to dominate, especially as the match progressed, which will give Robinson cause for concern but it's unlikely that the coach was going to be chewing anyone's ear too badly on Saturday night.

Scorers: Argentina: Pens: Contepomi (2), Rodriguez. Scotland: Try: Hamilton. Con: Parks. Pen: Parks (2)

Argentina: M Rodriguez, L Gonzalez, G Tiesi, S Fernandez, H Agulla; F Contepomi (Carballo 65), A Figuerola, R Roncero, M Ledesma (Creevy 65), M Scelzo, M Carizza, P Albacete, G Fessia, JM Leguizamon (Campos 47) JM Fernandez Lobbe. Replacements: M Ayerza, S Guzman, N Vergallo, L Borges.

Scotland: H Southwell, S Lamont, M Evans (De Luca 72), G Morrison, S Danielli; D Parks, R Lawson (Blair 71); A Jacobsen (Dickinson 65), R Ford (Lawson 70), M Low, J Hamilton, A Kellock (MacLeod 60), K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie (Strokosch 65). Replacements: P Godman.

Referee: C Berdos (FFR).

Related topics: