Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw is determined to finish off an eventful international year in the best possible fashion against Argentina at BT Murrayfield this afternoon ahead of what will be a massive World Cup year in 2019.
Victory against the Pumas would see the Scots repeat their return of seven Test wins in 2017 and set them up nicely for the Six Nations and build-up to the World Cup in Japan.
This autumn Test series peaked with last weekend’s monumental tussle with the Springboks, as Scotland fell just short in a 26-20 loss, but Laidlaw was unequivocal yesterday when asked how much was riding on today’s game following another defeat in Wales and a convincing win over Fiji.
“A lot,” said the skipper. “We understand the importance of coming out of a Test match on top, and that the difference between winning one out of four and two out of four is big. So we’re all focused on getting the right performance.
“We’re disappointed with a few areas of our game last week and it’ll be a tough challenge against Argentina to put that right.”
Clermont scrum-half Laidlaw wasn’t involved in the opening November defeat in Wales, which came outside the Test release window and saw Scotland play a team of home-based players, but has since resumed the captaincy with John Barclay out injured.
Laidlaw said it will only be after today’s game that Scotland’s autumn series and year as a whole can be properly assessed. Coach Gregor Townsend’s first full calendar year in charge has so far seen three Six Nations wins, a couple of wins on the tour of the Americas as well as a shock loss to the United States, and just the one victory so far in November.
“It’s difficult to look at right now because we’re focused on Argentina,” added Laidlaw.
“Away to Wales was a tough Test match, but the boys were right in the game and on a different day if we scored a try then we’re right in the hunt.
“I thought we played really well against Fiji and scored a lot of nice tries. And last weekend I thought we did a lot of really good things, it’s just the fine margins of beating these top three or four teams in the world almost seem to become ever more fine.
“We just need to get over the line but we’re in every match and we’re looking forward to Argentina and converting some of these opportunities we’ve created so we can make sure we win the game.”