Scotland are left with the task of beating England in their final Pool B match after Argentina snatch a 13-12 win in Wellington.
Small margin gives Pumas big boost at Rugby World Cup
WELLINGTON // Scotland are let with the task of defeating old rivals England in their final Pool B match next week after Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, the replacement winger, beat four defenders from 35 metres out to help Argentina snatch a 13-12 victory to put them in the driving seat of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Amorosino's 72nd-minute try was converted by the Pumas captain Felipe Contepomi which brought Argentina back from 12-6 down to win this bruising encounter, which Scotland could have won, had a second Dan Parks drop goal gone over in the final minute.
Both Argentina, who finished third in the 2007 tournament, and Scotland have 10 points in Pool B, with leaders England on 14. The Scots play their traditional foes at Eden Park on October 1 while the Pumas play Georgia in Palmerston North on October 2.
"We knew it was always going to be a tough, 80-minute game. Scotland played very well, today the luck was for us and I hope next week it's for them against England," Contepomi said in a pitchside interview.
"Scotland is a very solid team with a solid set piece but you take what you get and we got the win."
Contepomi said that many in Argentina had little expectations of this young Pumas squad reaching the last eight, but the mercurial fly-half warned that they have not reached the knock-out stages yet.
Despite that, the Pumas' fans transformed the 'Torta Lata' (Cake Tin) into a football-style amphitheatre, despite the miserable weather, with their chanting, dancing and singing though the match which failed to rise to their carnival exhortations.
Scotland's enterprise — they were prepared to spin the ball wide — did not result in points as they turned the ball over numerous times while in the Pumas' half.
The first half scoring was restricted to three penalties, one to Contepomi and one each to Chris Paterson and Ruaridh Jackson to give the Six Nations side a 6-3 lead at the break.
Scotland had the advantage of a blustery southerly wind in the second half, and were prepared to resort to high kicks in the swirling wind to put pressure on the Pumas in their own half, though again they failed to capitalise.
Contepomi tied the game at 6-6 in the 62nd minute with his second penalty, though Jackson struck back immediately to snatch back the lead when the Scots forwards set him up for a 40-metre drop goal.
Parks, the replacement fly-half, extended the lead and appeared to have won the match with a drop goal, though Amorosino sealed the win with eight minutes remaining.
Parks had the opportunity to seal the win in the final minute but his drop goal attempt was pushed to the left.
"Ultimately it was always going to be small margins that dictated the winner ... and fair play to Amorosino, he took his try really well," said, Rory Lawson, the Scotland captain.
"On a night like tonight it was going to be about controlling territory, controlling possession and creating pressure and ... I felt we played in the right areas ... but ultimately it was not enough.
"We'll go away, ultimately we've got to put in a big performance in Auckland next week."