Gregor Townsend on what Scotland must do to rescue Argentina series

Gregor Townsend has urged Scotland to up their intensity levels in next week’s second Test in Salta as they look to rescue the series against Argentina.

Scotland players leave the field at the end of the defeat to Argentina in the first Test of the Summer Series. (Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images)
Scotland players leave the field at the end of the defeat to Argentina in the first Test of the Summer Series. (Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images)

The squad made the 100km trip south from Jujuy on Sunday to prepare for a match they cannot afford to lose following the 26-18 defeat by the Pumas on Saturday.

Scotland are playing a three-Test series for the first time but a second consecutive loss would be an ignominious way to mark the historic tour.

The Scots never got going in the first half in Jujuy and trailed 18-6 at the interval. They drew level early in the second half but immediately conceded a try and could not find a way back, although Townsend was left to rue referee Nic Berry’s decision to disallow a try by Sam Johnson for a forward pass.

The Scotland coach knows his side cannot afford to begin the second Test so meekly.

“We’ve got to up our intensity at the start of the game,” Townsend told Sky Sports. “Argentina brought more energy then but after that we had some really good moments in defence, good work-rate. We’ve got to be more accurate in our attack.

“I’m disappointed because we didn’t get going until the second half. That was frustrating. We then got into a position where we believe we could have and should have kicked on, and we didn’t.

“Credit to Argentina, they won a restart and got a try from that and the game then slowed down in the last 20 minutes. We needed more to change the momentum.”

Scotland failed to lay a glove on the hosts in the first half but were more dangerous after the break and scored good tries through Mark Bennett and Rory Hutchinson to draw level.

Gonzalo Bertranou immediately restored Argentina’s lead and Scotland thought they had found a way back through Johnson only for the try to be disallowed because Blair Kinghorn’s pass to the centre was adjudged to have gone forward. Townsend thought the referee called it wrong.

“I felt the pass to Sam Johnson was flat – it needs to be a clear and obvious forward pass – and that would have put us ahead and Blair would have been at the heart of that comeback,” said the coach.

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