World Rugby U20 Championship: Scotland still winless after being blown away by Argentinean power

Wonder try from stand-off Callum McLelland not enough to alter the flow of one-sided encounter

Scotland Under-20
Sam Yawayawa and Logan Trotter converge to snuff out a length of the park try from Argentinean replacement Igancio Mendy ***Image: Photo: Pascal Rodriguez / World Rugby ***

Scotland 13
Argentina 29

THERE can be no complaints from Scotland about this defeat after they came up well short against a bigger, faster and generally more robust opposition. Bryan Redpath’s boys did have moments in the ascendancy, and scored an outstanding individualist try through stand-off Callum McLelland, but the general tenor of the game was accurately reflected by the final score-line.

The target for this tournament was to finish in the top eight, and ideally to emulate last year’s highwater mark of fifth, but that is now all but a mathematical impossibility. The Scots would need a most unlikely sequence of results to go their way, which would include a monumental victory for themselves against England in their final pool match on Thursday evening.

Scotland did, of course, come out on top the last time those two sides met during the Six Nations, but they are likely to face a far better drilled and more focussed outfit this time round.

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This encounter started ominously for Scotland when Juan-Pablo Collado Castro burst over from close range for Argentina’s first try with less than two minutes played, and a combination of set-piece dominance, powerful running and (mostly) sharp handling meant that the South Americans were completely dominant for the next 20 minutes, although their accuracy did let them down at crucial moments during that period which meant it wasn’t until the game had moved into its second quarter that they scored again, through Leopoldo Herrera Rezzonico rampaging home down the right touchline.

An Argentinean mix-up at the restart after that score handed Scotland their first attacking opportunity with a scrum five; and Devante Onojaife and Martin Hughes both did well to keep the pressure on off the back of a rapidly retreating set-piece to ultimately win a penalty. But after the ball was sent to the corner, the Scots were penalised for an offside as they tried to build the maul, and it looked as if their chance to secure a foothold in the game had passed.

McLelland makes his mark

McLelland, however, had other ideas. The 18-year-old had been a bit shaky during the opening quarter, with a couple of clearances being charged down, but when he was given half a chance to showcase his running game, the former rugby league prospect – who captained the England Under-16 rugby league team before changing codes and joining Edinburgh last November – was only too happy to capitalise, shimmying through the tightest of gaps in midfield and then showing excellent pace to round Santiago Carreras and Herrera Rezzenico on his way to the line.

Suddenly there was a bit of buzz about Scotland – with Sam Yawayawa,rLogan Trotter, Cammy Hutchison and Rory Darge all looking dangerous – but they couldn’t sustain it and spent the final few minutes of the first half defending frantically against wave upon wave of Argentinean attacks.

Jamie Hodgson was sent to the sin-bin for jumping across a lineout to take out his opposite man, and the referee was getting increasingly irritated with the continuous run of penalties the team in dark blue were conceding in order to stifle Argentinean momentum (12 during the course of the first 40 minutes). But that approach was vindicated when Argentina opted to kick three points instead of continuing to battle for seven in the last play of the first half, after captain Stafford McDowall was guilty of not rolling away from the tackle.

The second half started well for Scotland with Charlie Chapman kicking six points after Rodrigo Martinez Manzano and Jaun Bautista Pedemonte were penalised for skulduggery in the tackle area, meaning they had clawed it back to a two point game despite still being a man down.

Fortune seemed to be smiling on the Scots as well, with a charge-down try by Santiago Grondona being chalked off for a high tackle on Darge in the previous phase, and there was another let-off when Gonzalo Hughes was penalised for a double-movement as he stretched over the line.

The Scots were certainly enjoying more of the game than they had during the first half but were struggling to carve out any clear-cut chances, and the decisive score eventually went the way of Los Pumas when replacement scrum-half Manuel Nogues sneaked between Chapman and Hodgson then released Mateo Carreras, who brushed past Paddy Dewhirst to score.

A length of the park effort looked certain to secure the bonus point try for Argentina with two minutes to go, but a tag-team effort from Trotter and Yawayawa managed to hold replacement winger Ignacio Mendy up over the line. It was, however, only a postponement of that score, with tired Scotland blown away at the subsequent scrum and a penalty try the inevitable consequence.

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Teams –

Scotland: P Dewhirst; L Trotter, C Hutchison (F Strachan 63), S McDowall, S Yawayawa; C McLelland (R Thomson 61), C Chapman; S Grahamslaw (R Dunbar 61), F Scott (R Smith 61), M Walker (F Richardson 44), J Hodgson, M Sykes (C Jupp 73), M Hughes, R Darge, D Onojaife.

Argentina: S Carreras; L Herrera Rezzonico, J Collado Castro (I Mendy 63), S Chocobares, M Carreras; J Daireaux (J De La Vega Mendia 75), G Garcia (M Nogues 46); R Martinez Manzano (G Hughes 46), L Oviedo, L Sordoni (M Vivas 46), S Ochoa (I Gandini 73), L Paulos Adler, J De La Vega (S Ruiz 63), S Grondona, J Pedemonte.


Scorers –

Scotland: Tries: McLelland; Con: Chapman; Pen: Chapman 2.

Argentina: Tries: Collado Castro, Herrera Rezzonico, M Carreras, Penalty Try; Con: Daireaux 2; Pen: Daireaux.

Scoring sequence (Scotland): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 5-12; 7-12; 7-15 (h-t) 10-15; 13-15; 13-20; 13-22; 13-29.


Yellow cards –

Scotland: Hodgson

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.