x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Late drop goal gives Argentina comeback win over Scots

A drop goal three minutes from time from fly-half Martin Rodriguez saw Argentina come from behind to win 9-6 at Murrayfield.

A drop goal three minutes from time from fly-half Martin Rodriguez saw Argentina come from behind to win 9-6 at Murrayfield and bring Scotland back down to earth with a bump. The Scots had beaten Australia a week earlier, but at the same venue in Edinburgh seven days later they were found wanting by Argentina, who recovered from being six points down at the interval to take the spoils.

Scotland had opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a Phil Godman penalty. Godman missed two further penalty opportunities inside the opening 25 minutes and it really was all Scotland as they pushed Argentina's defence hard. Godman did finally find his range five minutes before the interval to extend the Scottish lead to six points. But the Pumas were a galvanised side after the restart and only last- ditch tackling prevented a visiting try, before Scotland lock Nathan Hines was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Gonzalo Tiesi, with Rodriguez kicking the resulting penalty to cut their deficit to just three points.

With their numerical advantage the Argentines continued to drive Scotland back and more pressure was rewarded in the 59th minute as Rodriguez's second penalty tied the scores up at 6-6. Both sides had late chances to snatch victory before Rodriguez kept his cool to win the game for his country at the death. Meanwhile, Italy put in an efficient display to comfortably get the better of Samoa 24-6.

While never at their best, the Italians did enough to claim the spoils with their tries coming from full-back Luke McLean and through a penalty try with two minutes to go. Mirco Bergamasco kicked two penalties for the Italians and a conversion, with fly-half Craig Gower also kicking a penalty. Scrum-half Tito Tebaldi added a drop goal after the interval, with Samoa's sole points coming from two penalties from Titi Esau.

gcaygill@thenational.ae