Hamish Watson says Scotland learned from Australia defeat

Scotland flanker Hamish Watson reckons the team proved a point by closing out a victory and showed that they had learned their lesson from the 23-22 loss to Australia the previous weekend.

Scotland's Hamish Watson charges ahead with the ball during the win over Argentina. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
Scotland's Hamish Watson charges ahead with the ball during the win over Argentina. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

The openside reflected on a bruising battle with Argentina but was delighted to have been part of a winning Test performance as the Scots sealed a 19-16 victory thanks to an 83rd-minute penalty by skipper Greig Laidlaw.

“It was really gutting to lose the way we did [against Australia] last week,” said Watson, who won his fourth cap. “[Coach] Vern [Cotter] talked during the week about closing games out and being in control, and I think even though we missed a few opportunities to win the game a bit earlier, we knew what we were doing.

“We had a gameplan about pick and gos, and keeping the structure towards the end, and it showed – we won a tight game against a very good team.”

Watson was part of a 
youthful Scottish pack, with debutant and Edinburgh team-mate Magnus Bradbury joining him in the back-row at blindside.

Asked if he was starting to feel like an experienced Test back-rower now, Watson smiled and said: “I’m not sure about that. I’m still pretty nervous before the games, and my performance wasn’t anywhere near perfect today – I made a few errors. I tried to make up for them. I thought I did all right but I’m nowhere near an experienced Test player.

“As any pro rugby player will say, it’s about trying to flush those mistakes out. You make a mistake in the first ten minutes, you can’t let that be on your mind the rest of the game.

“You’ve got to try and flush it, then think about that in the analysis room come Monday morning. You need to get over it pretty quick.”

Tryscorer Sean Maitland, pictured, believes Scotland are starting to hit all the right notes because they now have the X factor.

The winger says the likes of Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg and new centre Huw Jones have the talent to unlock any defence.

Jones, in particular, has quickly proven himself to be game-changer in his first two Test starts. He scored a brace against Australia last week and followed up with a sublime assist for Maitland’s try on Saturday.

“X factor players you would probably call them,” the Saracens back said when asked about the likes of Russell, Hogg and Jones.

“I think our backline, the cohesion and the synergy, is getting top class. Hopefully we’ll have Duncy [Duncan Taylor] coming back from injury soon so there is going to be a lot of competition in our midfield and our back three as well so it’s only going to be healthy for Scottish rugby.

“I’m sure Vern will have some difficult decisions coming up for the Six Nations.”

Scotland looked to be in trouble against the Pumas after allowing Matias Orlando to score the opening try ten minutes into the second half. But Jones produced a stunning off-load to put Maitland in for a touchdown in the corner as Scotland hit back immediately.

Maitland paid tribute to Jones, who is having a foot injury assessed ahead of Saturday’s final autumn Test against Georgia, for providing the spark Scotland needed.

Maitland said: “Our outside backs didn’t really see too much ball. It was just one of those games where you only get a few chances and Huw made something out of nothing. He had the vision to see me on the outside and get me in for a little lollipop try so it’s always good to get over the line and score.

“The conditions were really difficult. We always knew it was going to be one of those tight games but we hung in there. In the first half we lost a lot of ball to the conditions. But we played better in the 
second half.”