Argentina v Scotland: Michael Cheika building something special with Los Pumas after series win

Michael Cheika is building something in Argentina and hopes the series win over Scotland is just the first step on a long and fruitful journey.

Argentina celebrate after their victory over Scotland in the series-deciding third Test at Madre de Ciudades Stadium. (Photo by Pablo Gasparini/AFP via Getty Images)
Argentina celebrate after their victory over Scotland in the series-deciding third Test at Madre de Ciudades Stadium. (Photo by Pablo Gasparini/AFP via Getty Images)

Saturday’s 34-31 victory in Santiago del Estero kick-started the Cheika era for the Pumas and saw them reconnect with their supporters after a near three-year wait to play at home due to Covid.

They can now look forward to the Rugby Championship with a degree of confidence; they host Australia in Mendoza in their opening match on August 6.

Cheika was named head coach in March, replacing Mario Ledesma, with the goal of making an impact at next year’s Rugby World Cup where Argentina have been drawn in Pool C with England, Japan, Samoa and Chile.

Argentina's Australian coach Michael Cheika has made an impressive start to his tenure. (Photo by Pablo Gasparini/AFP via Getty Images)

The globe-trotting Aussie has made a flying start, guiding the Pumas to their first series win in 15 years and their first over the Scots since 1994. He was particularly pleased with the way Argentina held their nerve on Saturday, executing the winning try by Emiliano Boffelli with the final play of the game.

“I liked how we didn’t drop our bundle when we went behind,” Cheika told Sky Sports. “Last week we dropped our bundle a little bit but this week we fought hard to come back into the game and they did what they needed to.”

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Going into the series, Argentina hadn’t beaten Scotland since the 2011 World Cup but they quickly rectified that, winning the first Test in Jujuy. The Scots won the second match in Salta to square the series but Cheika’s side took the decider in dramatic fashion at a sold-out Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades where 30,000 fans created a raucous atmosphere.

“It’s just starting, there’s no getting carried away here,” said the coach. “We’re building something that we want to be at a high level later on. We loved winning the series, I haven’t won the series before, and the first ever Test match here at this stadium. To put Argentina’s name on that is really important for the boys. A few of our players are from here and a few of our past players.”

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