Argentina v Scotland: tourists blow 15 point lead to lose summer Test series

Two tries apiece for Duhan van der Merwe and Ewan Ashman not enough

Ewan Ashman scored two tries in his first Scotland start but it wasn't enough to prevent a frustrating defeat to Argentina. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ewan Ashman scored two tries in his first Scotland start but it wasn't enough to prevent a frustrating defeat to Argentina. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Argentina 34

Scotland 31

THERE’S a million ways you can lose a rugby match and none of them are easy to swallow, but this was a particularly unpalatable experience from a Scottish perspective because to go 15-points up with half an hour to play and then blow it is not something that can be shrugged off as an unfortunate mishap.

Argentina are a good side. There is plenty power and passion there. But they are not world beaters, and Scotland’s propensity to blow hot and cold from week to week, and often from minute to minute, is a major concern as the World Cup looms over the horizon.

The really frustrating thing is that Scotland didn’t play badly. In fact, it was probably their best performance since beating England at the start of the Six Nations, but when they needed to adjust their game to suit the circumstances they didn’t.


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With 10 minutes to go and immediately after Argentina had reduced Scotland’s advantage to four points, they kicked a penalty to the corner instead of taking the three points, rolled the line-out over the try-line but failed to get the ball down. Head coach Gregor Townsend pointed out afterwards that this approach had worked earlier in the match, but the dynamics of the game had moved on and some hard-nosed pragmatism was required. Scotland had helped keep Argentina in the fight.

With four minutes to go, Ali Price – one of the team’s leaders – kicked a clearance from the base of a ruck just outside Scotland’s 22 straight out on the full, handing Argentina the attacking platform which which they ultimately scored the winning try through Edinburgh winger Emiliano Boffelli. Another self-inflicted wound.

Restart receipts and line-outs have been a problem throughout this tour, and they killed Scotland again in this match, which captain Hamish Watson acknowledged was a major contributing factor to his team’s undoing.

“We were good in attack but at the end of the day we were the architects of our own downfall,” he lamented. “We got 15 points up and couldn’t kick on from there.

“We didn’t bank the points after scoring by securing the kick-off, and we just gifted them points which let them back into the game. And when we got down to their end, on a number of occasions we were five yards out from the try-line, but our-set-piece wasn’t good enough today either. If you don’t have a good set-piece in Test rugby, and you can’t win your line-out, you are going to struggle.

“Full credit to Argentina, they are a good team and a proud nation, so we knew they were going to stick in the battle,” he added “We knew when we went 15 points up that they were going to come back so it didn’t surprise us – but we didn’t cope with it well enough.

“From our point of view, we just need to stick together because we’ve got four massive games coming up in the Autumn, including Argentina again.”

 

For the third match on the bounce, Argentina were quicker out the blocks and if Boffelli had managed to hold on to the final pass following a powerful break from Matias Moroni then he would surely have scored in the corner with just four minutes played. The winger had to make do instead with a 52-yard penalty a couple of minutes later following a Price offside.

That seemed to shake Scotland out of their early match slumber, and from their first real period of possession they scored a fine try when Blair Kinghorn jinked through a dog-led in Argentina’s defence line then offloaded to Duhan can der Merwe, who still had plenty of work to do and showed plenty of pace and power as he rampaged to the try-line. Kinghorn added the conversion.

Now it was Argentina’s turn to bounce right back, with Bautista Delguy expertly scooping up Kinghorn’s hack ahead to launch a coruscating counter-attack which culminated in Santiago Carreras cruising under the posts off an excellent offload from Boffelli.

Scotland lost two line-out in the opening 20 minutes but backed themselves when they picked up a kickable penalty early in the second quarter, and fortune did indeed favour the brave on this occasion, with the throw to the front being collected unchallenged by Scott Cummings, setting up a maul which powered over the Pumas line for Ewan Ashman to claim the try.

Momentum continued to swing from one side to the other, and when Rufus McLean found himself isolated and ended up being penalised for holding onto the ball on the deck, Boffelli stepped forward to narrow the gap to a single point.

Scotland had two chances to finish the first half on a high. First they kicked another penalty to the corner, but on this occasion the throw to the tail was picked off by the Pumas. Then they opted to go for the sticks from yet another penalty on halfway  but Kinghorn’s effort came back off the crossbar.

 

Scotland took what should have been an unbreakable stranglehold of the game at the start of that second period, with van der Merwe and Ashman each getting their second tries at the end of some impressive passages of continuity rugby, but Argentina would not lie down.

Mark Bennett gave away an obstruction penalty at the restart and the Pumas kicked to the corner then pulled a try back when replacement prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro burrowed over just a minute after he had joined the fray.

A Kinghorn penalty kept Scotland’s side of the scoreboard ticking over but another malfunction at the restart, when McLean was clattered as he caught the ball on the touchline and gave away a holding-on penalty, put Argentina back on the front foot. After a period of pressure the hosts pulled another try back through replacement scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou sniping over from the base of a ruck.

Argentina spent the final five minutes pushing hard for the try they needed to clinch the series and earned a very kickable penalty five metres from the Scottish line with two minutes to go, but three points wouldn’t be enough so they opted for a scrum, and it was from this set-piece Boffelli scored the all-important try.

Townsend was keen to accentuate the positives but accepted that Scotland had nobody to blame for this result but themselves.

“We are obviously really disappointed because we were ahead for most of that game and we had chances to score the try we needed but we were held up over the line,” he said. “And we had chances to be more efficient with our exiting in the last 20 minutes, so that was disappointing

“I feel so sorry for the players because so much of our play tonight was full of courage and skill. It was our best display of the tour, and it would have been a famous win, but the feeling now is the opposite of that. The way we played tonight, away from home in front of a noisy crowd, against a very good side – I am so proud of the effort.

“But we just need to make sure that we win these games when we have dominated for so long.”

“Each game we have got better on this tour, we have given some young players experiences of Test rugby, and some of them have really stood up so there is some real positives to come out of it.

“If you are on the receiving end of a last minute try it is going to feel terrible but you have to look at the context of the overall performance, and there was a lot to be proud of tonight in that performance.”

 

Teams –

Argentina: J Mallia; B Delguy (L Cinti 50), M Orlando, M Moroni, E Boffelli; S Carreras, L Bazan Velez (G Bertanou 61); T Gallo (N Tetez Chaparro 50), A Creevy (I Ruiz 58, J Gonzalez 68), J Sclavi ( F Gomez Kodela 50), G Petti, T Lavanni (M Kremer 50), P Matera, S Grondona, F Isa.

Scotland: O Smith (R Thompson 75); R McLean, M Bennett, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, A Price; R Sutherland (P Schoeman 52), E Ashman (D Cherry, 52), Z Fagerson, S Cummings (G Youn 69), J Gray, R Darge, H Watson (A Christie 75), M Fagerson.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)

 

Scorers –

Argentina: Tries: Carreras, Chaparro, Bertanou, Boffelli; Con: Boffelli 4; Pen: Boffelli 2.

Scotland: Tries: Van der Merwe 2, Ashman 2; Con: Kinghorn 4; Pen: Kinghorn..

Scoring sequence (Argentina first): 3-0; 3-5; 3-7; 8-7; 10-7; 10-12; 10-14; 13-14 (h-t) 13-19; 13-21; 13-26; 13-28; 18-28; 20-28; 20-31; 25-31; 27-31; 32-31; 34-31.


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About David Barnes 2991 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

65 Comments

  1. This was so typical of GT as he did the same at Glasgow with Toony Tumbola but when it came to a big game he ignored form players and he always reverts to his names. It is like it will protect him from criticism if he loses the game as he played his strongest team on paper but ignores what we all can see. His antics frustrated many players at Glasgow and it must be the same at Scotland. E.G. Why play Fagerson and Price for 80 minutes and you can bet that White and Sebastian will not be happy as it tells them that you are not good enough or I cannot trust you.

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    • I mean GT has probably taken this squad as far as he can, but your post seems to gloss over the fact that Toonie won the Pro12 with Glasgow and got them to the QFs of the Heineken Cup for the first time. You’d be v hard pushed to make a case that he wasn’t a roaring success at Glasgow, whatever his shortcomings have been as Scotland head coach.

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      • Much of the hard yards and pain had been taken by Sean Linean. He inherited a team very much on the up.

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      • Much like when he took over Scotland, the heavy lifting had been done by Cotter, helps in the stat column when you are fortunate to have the 2 best backs of the generation in both teams you have managed.

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      • Sean Lineen did a very good job at Glasgow, but he only made one SF and in his last season in charge finished 11th. Glasgow never looked remotely like a title-winning side during his tenure.

        Townshend took Glasgow to the play-offs in his first five seasons in charge and won the title. To try to claim he didn’t earn those accolades is pretty weak. You might have some weird grudge against Townshend but he did the business at Glasgow.

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      • Cotter and Townsend both had their faults. The point is not to look at either of their records in that period in isolation. Cherrypicking the aspect/stat you like is biased and misses the point.

        What they did affected each other – intended or not, it was mutually supportive. Townsend had over half the Scotland team coming from Glasgow. His troops benefited from Cotter’s robust, direct approach and Townsend’s creativity added something complimentary to Cotter’s philosophy. You can’t isolate the two.

        The mistake the SRU made was not giving Cotter another World Cup cycle and finding coaches at Edinburgh and Glasgow who could offer something different, but complimentary, to the overall approach for Scottish rugby. Townsend could have done an O’Gara by learning to coach overseas rather than elevating to the top job so soon.

        We’re stuck now so may as well stop grumping about it and think ahead to what should come next, post-2023.

  2. Robert Kitson has a very good piece in the Guardian Sun 17 July on how the teams are shaping up for WC 2023

    He says this about Scotland

    Scotland, in the same World Cup group as South Africa and Ireland, have been left with rather more to prove, having allowed a 15-point lead slip and been pipped 34-31 by Argentina in Saturday’s decider. Their frustrating inconsistency is a habit they seem no closer to eradicating and time is not on their side. Simply treading water between now and the 2023 World Cup will not be enough.

    Can’t disagree with that.

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  3. Taking stock of where we are relative to the other nations at the end of the summer tours I’m struggling to see how we are any closer to beating either Ireland or South Africa to get out of our group at the world cup.

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    • Scotland sre probably now further away from being able to beat SA and Ireland. Being in a group with two of the four best teams in the world is going to make it very difficult to progress. It’s not impossible to beat either SA or Ireland if Scotland can get over their various difficulties, But I fear it’s just as likely that they’ll lose to one of the smaller teams in the group.

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  4. That was a far more entertaining game than last weekend’s offering, but, like many here, I’m unsure what this tour will have achieved. That’s partly a consequence of injuries and partly Townsend’s baffling selections.
    What is selecting Gray going to tell you? If you appoint a new captain and it goes ok, might it not be wiser to stick with him for the next game? Was there ever any plan to play Hutchinson at 12 on the tour? Wouldn’t it have been wiser to give the younger and specialised 10, Thompson, more game time? What has Horne done wrong? As the bench front row did well last weekend, might it have been better to offer them more experience?
    I know it’s easy to be an armchair expert and there are no consequences for our wrong decisions, but this tour hasn’t moved us on. Yes, Kinghorn played far better for most of the game, but he’s still learning. When will restarts be addressed? They’re a shambles and cost us dear, again. The lineout is another costly weakness, though it was unfortunate the move with Gray didn’t result in a try. Why can we not manage games and close them down to secure a win?
    There is no point in calling for Townsend’s head now, we’re stuck with him and I’m no more happy about that than many here. The autumn internationals will probably be equally baffling.

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    • I agree with your comment but am baffled that with probably the best set of players for many a long year, we still cannot perform. What’s worse is we get the basics woefully wrong. Receiving the kick off has been a persistent problem under Townsend. But the really baffling part is we have great defence then no defence. We have a great lineout then no lineout. We score boatloads of tries then no tries and now we seem to be able to score tries again. There just is no consistency and that has to be a coaching problem. Why don’t player set 2 perform like player set 1? Yes we are missing key players – Russell, Hogg, Nel you could argue Harris, but that is no excuse for the total inconsistency.

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  5. Can’t really add much to what’s been said here already….but one thing is for sure. We need to have a really good Six Nations and a minimum QF of RWC.

    If not, Toony is gone no matter what he says. If we do have a good period then expect him to be around for longer and you’ll have to bear Dodson saying “I told you so” and “Aren’t I great”.

    As for his replacement…I’m not sure you’re going to get someone coming in unless the have absolute say in everything to do with the whole set up. That includes all the stuff Mallinder et Al are doing. Any decent world class coach worth their salt will wants their hands in everything.

    Its a template that coaches like that use when setting out their own style. They won’t want any contrasts to their own plans or methods.

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  6. Almost a complete new XV blooded this season in international rugby – the one position we did not cap anybody new in was outside centre.
    O Smith;
    R McLean,13, S Tuipulotu, K Rowe;
    R Thompson, (J Dobie, B White, B Vellacott);
    P Schoeman, E Ashman, J Sebastian;
    G Young, J Hodgson, M Sykes;
    A Christie, L Crosbie, J Bayliss, R Darge, D Richardson.

    Too many in one season?
    Or given opportunity to some diamonds who will be stalwarts for years to come?

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  7. We must hope that the positive GT talks about is that he is now sure of perhaps 90% of his squad for next season and the RWC. If so then we can look forward to more consistent selection in the (only) 12 or so games before RWC and perhaps we’ll have a side that if not world beaters will at least be competitive. If the repetitive tinkering continues into the autumn and 6N then while we can hope for the best, we should expect the worst

  8. The frustration is in our inability to improve our core skills and game management… we know restarts and line outs have been a weakness for the last few years but somehow we are not improving … we know training sessions are carefully managing contact time but there is no evidence that the line out coach exists/ is spending more time with the forwards… and then game management.. kicking to the corner in the first half is a very different proposition to 5 mins from time to take a 7 point lead and eat a minute of time , similarly price and Ross Thompson missing touch soon after … where was the leadership … so frustrating …leaders like skinner in the stand must have been tearing their hair out

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  9. What’s so surprising is how negative, reactionary and ill-informed commenters here are. Restarts and lineouts have been (generally) poor for Scotland for over a decade. Russell is injured. Townsend explicitly said that this tour was to develop players, which is why there was so much chopping and changing. Compare this to the 2020 and 2021 6N as there was very little change in the match day squads that wasn’t forced by injury.

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    • Intriguing point, who do you reckon has been developed on this tour?
      I’m not sure what point you are making re 6N squad consistency, furthermore restarts and lineouts are an achilles heel and have been for a while, if anything this makes the continuing struggles worse

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    • TeamCam – two issues with that argument: (1) other teams aren’t experimenting a year out from the World Cup. They broadly know their 1st XV and are trying to get them firing on all cylinders. (2) Swapping Gilchrist, Skinner and White for Gray, Cummings and Price is nothing to do with blooding new players.

      I appreciate that if Townsend hadn’t tinkered a bit we’d never have seen White playing a stormer last week, or Gilchrist leading the side so ably. But having found that the experiment really worked, why did we ignore the findings?

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    • Development comes from being in a winning environment. We are not good enough or blessed enough with talent to be able to view and game or tour as for development. And as David Blair says the positives and proof that came out of the previous games HT totally ignored for this came. No White (and GT then doesn’t even bring on Horne), totally new second row after the best forward performance in a year, bring in Gray who is a work horse but incapable of influencing a game (compare Beirne yesterday), change 2 of the front row after a dominant performance, don’t allow any stable back combinations to embed. GT would not even get a job as Head Coach (never mind being dropped by them) by any other Tier 1 country. But we have to put up with his mismanagement nonsense it seems in perpetuity!

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    • TeamCam I appreciate that but the chopping and changing looked directionless.
      We introduced attacking players when the focus since our exit from rwc 19 has been defence.
      Most of those attacking players have been in the squad for a while and not featured before.
      Have they suddenly matured or are we going to go in a different direction from the one we’ve been going in?

      Or has Townsend got a plan to marry their attacking talents to the defensive skills of players like Chris Harris?

      We’ll see in the Autumn but I think we’re about to go into the RWC 23 season and I think time dictates that we should mature our style of play and settle the players who are going to deliver it?

      Townsend has proved me wrong lots of times so we’ll see what he does.

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  10. We need a winning mentality – which means rewarding players who played a blinder last week, not dropping them. If you experiment in a series decider instead of picking the guys who did best the previous week, you’re giving the team permission to lose. It’s not a tap you can turn on and off. If we didn’t have the winning habit yesterday, we’re not going to suddenly develop it in the white heat of the toughest World Cup pool.

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  11. The contrast between us and Ireland, Wales and England in terms of onfield leaders is stark. You talk about a leadership group on the pitch that implement a gameplan and direct the troops whether it be in the set piece, in the backs division etc. Ireland have a team bursting at the seems with relentless winners and leaders. They could probably pick about 7 different guys who would be proper captain material. They drive standards and demand personal accountability for every single action on that pitch. I dont believe we have that and in key moments it shows, we can play some lovely stuff as we did yesterday for long spells, but we can quickly fall apart like a house of cards.

    Also, one word- continuity. Ireland, Wales and England have continuity and are out to win every single test they play, unlike our coach who appears to just treat every game as an experimentation and mass rotation of players, disrupting the flow and not allowing partnerships to get more familiar and to get better.

    Also agree with some of the comments already posted below. Kinghorn seems to be the immovable object at 10 now, thats the last four tests on the bounce. Russell might end up retiring soon from test rugby is my hunch and GT seems to have also developed an issue with Adam Hastings who is by some distance our second best fly half. Not sure what beckons in 2023 but im dreading it as a year for Scottish rugby, on our current trajecrory it could be a painful and chastening one.

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  12. We have to accept that SRU aren’t going to change coaches this close to a World Cup which is already a write off. Scotland will be on the first flight home. So we’re stuck with GT. Roll on 6 Nations 2024 under a new coaching team, with consistent and coherent selection which will build confidence so players are able to execute basic skills under pressure, which clearly isn’t the case at the moment.

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    • Don’t know why so much focus is on the RWC tbh. We were onto a loser as soon as the draw was made and the best coach in the world would be unlikely to get us to the QFs. I want us to compete in the 6N, it’s our bread and butter, and we could conceivably win it with a hefty dollop of luck.

      Even if we squeaked through to the QFs we’ll be rewarded with a match against NZ or France. Let’s take care of 6N business first. I broadly think Toonie’s race is run but we will struggle to recruit before the RWC. I hope we chuck lots of money at a proven coach that challenges or players to be better. Gatland or O’Gara would be my choices.

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      • Think also about Scott Robertson of the Crusaders who
        has been looking for international
        experience – unless the Ireland performance
        gets him the AB job earlier !

      • We’re not onto a loser at rwc23.
        That’s a really negative attitude.
        Ireland and SA are both better teams than us but the difference boils down to small differences between a handful of players.
        If we’re on form and they’re not or they’re injured we could easily beat 1 or both of them.

        Think Japan v Ireland in the last rwc.

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    • Yep. Sad to say but my heart sank when I saw the RWC draw. I see the way Ireland and SA are playing and particularly the leadership and ability to win and I fear for our RWC. We have neither the leadership, nous, plan, or sheer bloody mindedness to win against those two who have those qualities in spades (oh… and no little skill). If this Argentina tour has meant anything, it’s confirmed to me that the so called “leadership group” that GT and Hoggy keep banging on about needs a change. The sort of leadership for example shown by White at scrum half when taking the ball to the line and into hulks twice his size. The kind of leadership that knows when to take 3 pts and put the opposition under pressure. Not the leadership that kicks it out on the full when under the cosh in the last 5 mins. Trying not to be negative but realistic. There is little evidence to suggest we can cause an upset in our RWC group.

  13. We have to take the positives..
    We’ll learn from that .
    He must be listening to Sturgeon in Holyrood .that’s her spin to deflect
    Townsend has to take a good look at himself .
    Nobody is aloof and can’t be replaced .
    The problem is He thinks he is

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  14. For me the result of this match is primarily due to one thing.

    Not using the whole team.

    It’s a 23 man game these days. Price and Fagerson both made fatigue errors in the last 10 minutes. Ross Thompson had no time to show what he can do, Sam Johnson would of added to the defence.

    Why take off Hamish Watson? He is the captain and was playing excellently, Add Christie in for Fagerson or Darge, two of the more inexperienced players.

    Selection was strange this game and i’d be rewarding form rather than giving everyone a go. But ultimately Townsend lost this game with his misuse of the bench.

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  15. For the last 3 seasons the team has developed a defensive style and picked the best players to deliver that.

    On this tour we experimented with attacking players and an attacking gameplan.

    At times it was successful, but we still lost the series in a dispiriting capitulation.

    Are we going to change our style of play and selection in the Autumn and following 6N on the basis of this tour?

    If the answer is no then what was the point and what is the direction?

  16. This is getting more like a football forum – sack the coach, that guy should never play again, why is that guy even on tour, there’s too much chopping and changing which is invariably followed by some else saying that there aren’t enough changes and there’s no opportunity given to youngsters etc

    We played really well for 60-ish (non consecutive) minutes so the ability and coaching is there. Where we fall down is onfield leadership – deciding to go to the corner late on when there was a guaranteed 3 points, calling a line out to the middle late on (which we lost) even though the front ball had been relatively secure, no-one letting McLean know he didn’t have to catch a restart because it was going out on the full; there is a long list Add on Ali Price hoofing it out on the full when under no great pressure. These are things the players have to take responsibility for and it’s all too easy just to blame the coaching staff. They are far from perfect but, unless you are Andy Farrell, you won’t be but are there as a convenient person to blame when everyone is wise after the event and has seen how things actually pan out

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    • Just can’t agree with you. The coach has to go but won’t. Yes there are player errors for which you can’t shoot the coach but there has been no tangible progress or game plan since the last world cup and we are now approaching the next world cup in freefall. The coach seems to be at odds with multiple players and it seems apparent the players don’t buy in to what is doing and don’t enjoy the environment he’s created. The culture appears bad and standards on all fronts poor. To my mind this boils down to the coach. GT comes over as if he believes he is some mercurial rugby guru who can see things in players and approach that is beyond the rest of his. Whereas most of us believe getting a coach who as a minimum requires the basic properly executed consistently and being prepared to select those that do so and drop those that don’t would be big first step back towards where we need to get to.

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  17. Unbelievably Greek tv didn’t show the game. Sounds like a decent match and I’m not surprised as Argentina are a good side and defensive formations will always struggle when you change half the team. It also sounds like the basics let us down again (lineouts and kick offs). I can only imagine the ticker tape and trophy presentation was as impressive as the ones after the first 2 games. Hopefully we’re fully loaded come November.

  18. This is not a knee jerk reaction to the result as we have endured so much over the years I simply dont get emotional about these losses anymore. Townsend is an utter imposter. He has zero integrity otherwise he would go. He should have gone after the last world cup fiasco.The only reason he is still there is because Dodson and his committee members have their snouts so deep in the trough they are not interested in what is going on around them. First and foremost this should be about developing structures and talent and being competitive and winning rugby matches at all levels. In this regard we are virtually failing on every front. Regarding the international team its just rinse and repeat. No continuity, bizarre selections, same old errors, same old excuses, perceived favouritism, internal squabbles and exclusion of certain players, which have a material bearing on our performance. Yet Townsend appears to be untouchable. Fundamentally I believe that if we put our best players on the pitch with a coach who actually has a game plan which plays to our strengths then we would be competitive. That is what is so frustrating about the current situation.
    Sadly, I dont expect any changes to be made despite all the red flags which keep getting waved in our faces, until after another woeful early world cup exit.

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    • Sadly TT it’s not virtually failing its actually failing and abejectly so, Glasgow are utterly directionless, Edinburgh much improved but competitive?, 7’s, Age Grade, senior men’s and women’s you name it its an ugly landscape bereft of strategy, direction and active leadership. I have been involved for 50 years and desperately want our teams to at the very least to have the respect of the opposition rather than as we are now which is as near as damit a nailed on bonus point win. Write off 2023 WC now and that gives us 5 years to focus on 1 thing. Never happen but you have to dream.

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    • Sorry TT. That’s not how Scottish Rugby works.

      It’s as far removed from a committee that it’s possible to be. They are a Board of Directors with legal fiduciary duties of oversight over the company. Some of those directors are Council members but they are in a minority when compared with the NEDs and SRUL Exec.

      Have they exercised those duties? That’s a very good question.

  19. ‘We are obviously really disappointed’ seems to be the coach’s stock in trade and we have been hearing it too often for too long now. But there were some positives – to steal his other go-to phrase. The first half was excellently competitive, the scrummage was solid and Matt Fagerson in particular put in a barnstorming effort. But oh dear, that cluster-shambles of a lineout – and to blow a 15-point lead in under 30 minutes is unforgiveable. I was hugely impressed with the Irish against the All Blacks, while England got the measure of the Aussies with their new and maturing team. Both performances were based on the same thing – consistency of selection. Players who know each other’s game inside out and are drilled to play together as a team. And most importantly, doing so without the worry of whether they will be picked next time for reasons other than form. Watch and learn Gregor, watch and learn.

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  20. I was out last night so could only keep up via BBC. Couldn’t believe the final result as the last time I checked we were 15 ahead.

    Watched the highlights. Odd game from both sides. Some great try’s and some abject defending by both teams.

    Where do we go from here? AI selection will be fascinating

  21. I didn’t get to watch this live so watched the replay early this morning.

    What an absolutely infuriating result. Built on bad decisions and critical errors in two basic aspects of the game: restart receipts and line out. Barclay was right in his analysis and Watson too in his post-match interview.

    I did see Ireland yesterday and the contrast is stark: they all know what they are doing individually and collectively.

    It’s totally pointless talking endlessly about what we’re learning when we’re conspicuously not learning to win.

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  22. The team show all the signs if a squadthat just don’t believe in the coach. Can do plenty of good things but as soon as the pressure comes on they cave are there is no structure or systems in place that they believe in or can rely on. Also, leadership is zero. Our BIL scrum half who should be the main controller back to his crazy spaniel impression.

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  23. Self inflicted wounds yet again from Scotland, when ever we make an error it’s often a howler and can lose us the game. On the way back home can we arrange to drop Cherry off on the Falkland Islands so he can never play for Scotland again. Did he get one line out throw right last night, prize possession deep in the Argentinian half and he messed almost every throw in , but worse than that the Argentinians made huge yardage every time. Price was looking pretty tired to me , he has played to much rugby and probably also should have been left at home, but his kick direct to touch was a killer.
    Great performances from the Darge Watson team, with help from M Fagerson. VDM and Bennett were excellent, not sure if Mclean and Smith are quite ready for international rugby. Why was Horne not given a run out at 60 minutes along with Johnson and Thomson, I thought Kinghorn had strained something in his leg so it might have worked better.
    In the end analysis in a cup tie game is it not folly to change the team which won well the previous week, had the series been lost last week then sure experiment but not in a cup tie game.
    Still well done to Argentina htey never gave up.

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  24. Coaching team have lost any semblance of respect. Question is will we qualify from our WC Group, based our form and Ireland and SA not a chance. So clear out the current coaches and work towards 2027 WC. I have renewed my season ticket for Glasgow and my International season pass and now wish I hadn’t as its all false hopes, false dawn etc dressed up in weasel words which don’t fool anybody.

    19
  25. Have the coaching team got any clue what they are trying to do? Switch this, try that, lets play x player out of position. Winning teams are consistent, they understand one another’s play and they anticipate what they are going to do. Look at Ireland, they buy the gameplan execute beautifully and the combinations really know how each other plays. We just thrash about looking for a magic formula that doesn’t exist. Oh this weeks magic formula is the lineout, oops used to be really good, now its fallen apart. We’re a year away from the World Cup, we should know our best combinations by now. Also with BK my worry is Gregor has had a real falling out with Finn and will continue to pick BK at 10.

    25
      • There was no dig – are you over sensitive re BK? Finn is truly world class and clearly does not get on with Townsend’s micro-management. He plays totally differently and not nearly as well, for Scotland, than he does for Racing. at Racing he is allowed to play what is in front of him. He is being stifled by the Scotland coaching set up. In terms of 10’s in order we have Finn, Hastings, BK then Thompson. I think most people on this forum would agree with that.

  26. I must have missed the news – Townsend has been sacked hasn’t he!

    “tonight was full of courage and skill” – courage maybe but where was the skill?
    I watch Ireland and Wales play out of their skins when they pull on the jersey. Scotland are a team of losers – not the individuals who are probably as good a group as have ever had – but there is a mentality problem and it comes from the top. No structure, no continuity, basic skills terrible. And a coach who would not get a job anywhere else in the world. We all know that.

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  27. I cannot believe that inconsistent selection isn’t part of this.
    What are we trying to do? What is the pattern?
    Other teams didn’t experiment like we did. They tried to strengthen their core.
    And the experimenting doesn’t seem to have much direction, with different types of player swapped for each other.

    15
    • Donald MacDonald – some excellent points sir, especially the line out woes / height of the back row. What was the purpose of this tour? Cement combinations, build confidence, find a winning / style that suits us?
      From my armchair I couldn’t/can’t see what we gained / learnt……the seemingly random changes in personell / young guys sent home early / mom performances rewarded with a seat in the stand. The old failings still there to the very last minutes of the 3rd test.
      Dempsey, Crosbie, Ritchie must be given game time in the AI.
      Finally do Scotland know about the 50 22 rule and if yes why do we never even try it, to me it’s criminally underused.

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  28. The lineout malfunctioning hideously was crucial to Scotland losing imo. If a team is failing to secure their own ball at set-piece it is inevitable they will find themselves under pressure. Looking at the tests, three different hookers starting over the three weeks. Three different second-row combos starting over the three weeks. Several have said it before but the buck stops with Townsend’s barmy selection policy. Winning is of paramount importance to most – blooding players ought to be pragmatic to game circumstances.
    Staying for a sec on the lineout, what we saw too in my view is the disadavantage of playing a squat back-row. The advantage they bring is ball-winning ability on the deck but the sacrifice is a lack of genuine lineout option in the back-row. The three we fielded are all around the 6″0, 6″1 mark. All good players, all played pretty well but it is not the combo moving forward, for my money at any rate.
    I’m not his number one fan but Kinghorn actually played one of the best games I have witnessed from him in an Edinburgh or Scotland shirt. He looked dangerous challenging the line and drawing tacklers. Still, he needs a season’s worth of performance at ten rather than a good game against Connacht to prove doubters wrong wholesale.
    A coulda woulda shoulda game undoubtedly.

    19
  29. Benches play a big part and clearly Argentina’s helped their comeback. For 5/8 to get 0-5 mins is a bit disappointing. Would guess Dell is signed for Glasgow to allow Kebble to switch back across. Bit top heavy on props with LHs. And cant rely on getting 80 out of ZF in congested WC

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  30. Does he just not coach re-stars? We’ve been diabolical at them for years under this guy. I’ve lost count of how many times 7 points is turned into 4.

    And why are they brain dead in crucial moments? Kick the 3.

  31. So frustrating……. I have been one of the critics of the BK at 10 experiment, but would note that I am not BK bashing but questioning where they are best suited for the team. He played well yesterday, but I still don’t think that he has the game management skills and nous for an international 10. That is why I think GT had to start with Price as our most experienced 9 to help manage the game at those key moments – and he did not have a good game (hasn’t for a while in a blue shirt) especially at two key moments which led to Puma tries (kicking away the penalty advantage and the kick out on the full towards the end). So it’s not just about BK at 10 but the knock on effect that has in other positions which then keeps an “in-form” player out of the match day squad. I still think that as a team we would have had a better balance with a White/Thompson 9/10 Johnson or fit Hutchinson or Johnson at 12 Bennet at 13 and BK at 15.

    Yea… it may not have changed the outcome of that particular game as there is also a lack of experience in that 9/10 but as a pair they have a bigger future and would have benefitted from the experience.

    I can’t help think (as others here have alluded to) that there must be another driver for the BK experiment possibly regards Finn’s future, but then again GT does have a tendency just to do these things in the hope of uncovering some previously unforeseen gold dust, which disrupts players from establishing themselves and fulfilling their potentials.

    Collectively our leadership on the pitch is still not functioning which gets exposed at these key turning points in games, and the continual chopping and changing really affects that. Why keep Price on the pitch for the full 80, but take off your captain for that critical last 10 minutes? Was he injured? Do we get enough from Gray these days?

    Set-piece – the one thing that you can train to death on… line out, re starts…. 🤯

    Watching the other games yesterday, we are simply light years away from the level of team performance that the Irish put out yesterday and are falling further and further behind our other home nation neighbours.

    Positive that MacLean and Smith got through a difficult game with pass marks and will get better. Darge again excellent.

    Everyone including GT talks about consistency, but does that not need a consistent game plan and selection from GT????

    Gotta see something more come the Autumn or we are simply going to be miles off at the 6N and RWC. This is not about being world-beaters, this is about being the best we can be where we should be simply be putting those games away.

    14
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    • Would disagree on your reasoning for Prices selection. He’s the most experienced 9 of course but would say it has more to do with dropping Gilchrist who’d captained previous 2. White started last week so can’t be that. Think it was more to do with leadership beyond holding up a 9-10 partnership. Cos BK sounds like he had the better game of the 2

  32. Im glad at least that nobody can blame Kinghorn for this one or maybe some will still find a way.

    It was a good performance until the last 30 minutes when Argentina came at us hard and really upped the tempo. So we’ve got to keep it in perspective – it will be interesting to see how Argentina do in the Rugby Championship. Its clearly frustrating when we manage to lose from a winning position and its always just a few errors at critical times. A poor line out, Ali Price kicking straight to touch giving them the ball back on our 22, a botched restart (recurring theme). Until we reduce the error count across the team we won’t improve. The better teams are simply more accurate at the key moments.

    8
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    • Problem with Kinghorn – excellent player but not a leader – is where do you play him? Finn would have been bossing and organising everyone around him – I saw no leadership on the field from anyone. Skinner showed it in spades last week but he gets dropped. Townsend is determined to not play Russell and Hogg – what is it – jealousy?

      14
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      • @Tom Simpson

        ‘Townsend is determined to not play Russell and Hogg – what is it – jealousy?’

        Sorry, what?? They were left at home to have the summer off after a long long season. I can genuinely not think of one occasion where Hogg has not been starting when available and the only case with Russell was the Ireland game in the 6N (stupid to start BK but Russell was really off-form. Hastings should have been in)

        Townsend deserves criticism and there’s plenty of areas to zero in on in that regard but come on don’t chuck around idiotic, false claims like that.

        1
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  33. After watching NZ Ire game where an expertly coached team knowing exactly what their jobs were won their series there was evidently no consistency in the Scottish performance. Some excellent attacking phases, nice tries but some terrible decisions, complete drop off in intensity and several unforced errors. Ashman had a great game in the loose but the line out really struggled, the lead-up to the losing score was so predicable poor decision making. Theres a lot of GT whatabootery I could go into, but the facts are we lost a series we should’ve won. BK had his best game of the series

    16
  34. Weird game to watch after the fact, given how much good, powerful, accurate and inventive attacking rugby Scotland played in this game. Trying not to overreact, yes this is a really bad and sore one to lose from this position, but it’s the first game I’ve seen in quite some time where both our forwards and backs looked clear on their strategy and were executing it well. Decision making still strange in key moments though, such as kicking away our penalty advantage in the first half which gave a good Argentinian back. 3 a broken field to attack, and guess what, they score off it.

    It doesn’t seem to be fashionable to say this but I actually thought Kinghorn was decent today and distributed well.

    As pointed out by others, haven’t we been struggling with securing restarts for basically about the last 15 years of Test Rugby?! So infuriating. Obviously the less said about the last 20 minutes the better. But we rested some top line players and blooded some promising new players on this tour, so not all bad. Ultimately though, I look ahead to our World Cup pool which contains Ireland and South Africa and think…well…it’s going to be tough…

    13
  35. David Barnes is absolutely on the money with his thoughts on Scotland’s performance, it is hard to understand how they can play well and achieve a 15 point advantage with 28 minutes to got and then blow it.
    Minutes to go and a clumsy kick from Price: how many times have Scotland been in the ‘Pound Seats’ and screwed it up? Mind you was that worse than a lines out rather than 3 points a few moments before?
    I had a brilliant evening with friends got home and watched the recording and not for the first time questioned whether the players were ‘coached’ out of the ability to play heads up rugby or whether they didn’t have the ability to do so: of course they have, why don’t they? In any event it took the shine off a brilliant evening.
    So many positives negated by so many faults, the primary one being receiving from the restart, what’s the point of scoring when you let the opposition back in immediately because you don’t control the restart? Ok it wasn’t every time but once is enough to give the opposition momentum.
    Another point: Townsend: what is the position with Russell is he trying to find an answer to avoiding putting him on the starting card. There does seem to be an issue there, Kinghorn didn’t play particularly badly but what is the obsession? Why not try players who’s natural position is 10, it’s all a bit suspect. Why did George Horne not get a run out when it seemed to be turn an turn about regarding the team and bench?
    Anyway we lost a series we should have won, the only thing Argentina had over us [just] was tenacity, we let them into the game today time and again.
    The only clarity I got about the 3 game series was, we were slow to get going [not for first time] we chopped and changed positions to a degree, apart from Kinghorn, and whoever coached the reception from a kick off hasn’t done his job.
    Frankly in my opinion the players are there, the ability is there, therefor the question is why when on those ‘Golden’ occasions we have a reasonable squad of gifted players can’t we perform with consistency?

    30
  36. Fantastic game of full octane test rugby. Scotland a bit frustrating at times but hard to criticise given the effort. Well played to the Pumas in final 20 minutes.

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