Rugby Union: Sixteenth Puma enrages poor Scotland: Furore in Argentina

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SCOTLAND'S tour of Argentina ended in controversy with their manager, Fred McLeod, demanding an International Board inquiry into how their opponents were able to play with 16 men for a brief yet decisive spell at the end of a tense and compelling match.

The victory gave Argentina the Test series 2-0, but left the Scots incensed that Leandro Bouza was able to slip past two Argentinian touch judges while Guillermo del Castillo lay injured. Bouza then charged down a drop goal attempt by Gregor Townsend after his colleague had recovered. Estimates as to how long Argentina had played with an extra man varied from 23 seconds to three minutes.

McLeod, an IB member, told the post-match dinner: 'The International Board must clearly investigate the control of international matches, both the refereeing and touch judging. I would question the situation of two touch judges from the home country. If the referee had been injured, who would have taken over?

'Whoever may have sent the 16th player on to the field, there is no excuse for the manner in which it happened. Winning international matches is surely important - but not at all costs.'

The Argentinian rugby president, Lino Perez, laughed off the incident as an accident, saying: 'We promise to give you back the 23 seconds during which we played 16 players at some future occasion in Scotland.'

The Australian referee, Wayne Erickson, said the situation highlighted the importance of having a fourth official on duty to monitor replacements.

Adding to Scotland's frustration was a difficulty they encountered trying to replace Shade Munro temporarily while he had six stitches inserted in a head wound. Two-and-a-half minutes had elapsed after Munro had left the field before the Argentinian doctor was satisfied that Alan Watt could provide emergency cover. The Scots were also unhappy that the centre, Graham Shiel, was deliberately head-butted.

Yet Scotland could have no complaints about the fact that numerous chances existed to end the run of eight matches without victory. Kenny Logan did score Scotland's second try of the season, before retiring injured to allow Scott Nichol on for his first cap.

However, a glorious opportunity was lost 12 minutes from the end when the hooker, Kevin McKenzie, positioned under the Argentinian posts, attempted a drop goal with Gregor Townsend, the stand off, better positioned alongside. McKenzie's effort failed to get off the ground and Argentina were allowed to launch an attack.

Argentina: Try Martin; Conversion Meson; Penalties Meson 3; Drop goal Del Castillo. Scotland: Try Logan; Penalties Shiel 2, Dods; Drop goal Townsend.

ARGENTINA: S Meson; M Teran, D Cuesta Silva, M Loffreda (capt), G Jorge; G Del Castillo, N Fernandez; F Mendez, G Angelillo, T Noriega, G Llanes, P Sporleder, R Martin, J Santa Maria, C Temperley.

SCOTLAND: M Dods (Gala); C Joiner (Melrose), I Jardine (Stirling), G Shiel (Melrose), K Logan (Stirling); G Townsend (Gala), B Redpass (Melrose); A Sharp (Bristol), K McKenzie (Stirling), P Burnell (London Scottish), S Munro (Glasgow HK), A Reed (Bath, capt), P Walton (Northampton), C Hogg (Melrose), I Smith (Gloucester). Replacements: A Watt (Glasgow HK) for Sharp, 75, S Nichol (Selkirk) for Logan, 70.

Referee: W Erickson (Australia).