Frozen points to the west of Haymarket Station in Edinburgh on Saturday. Frozen assets too.
Having succeeded in turning back the clock 27 years with their heroic win against the Wallabies seven days previously, Scotland managed to roll back time to the Murrayfield dark ages with their struggle to get the scoreboard ticking in the bitter chill on Saturday. A 9-8 victory against Australia was one thing; a 9-6 defeat against Argentina quite another.
Not since the winter of 1967-68, and a 14-3 loss to the All Blacks and a 8-6 win against France, had the Scots failed to hit double figures in successive home Tests in the same season. Not since February 1963 had Murrayfield endured single-digit scores by both sides in consecutive matches in the same season: a 6-0 loss to Wales, followed by a 3-0 win against Ireland.
Andy Robinson sent out his team to please, screaming "Go wide, go wide" from the coaches' box at the back at the West Stand. The trouble was, for all of their width and offensive intent, Robinson's charges only managed to create two clear chances in a first half in which they dominated possession (64 per cent) and territory (72 per cent). All Scotland had to show for their opening 40 minutes was a 6-0 lead, courtesy of two penalties by the Edinburgh fly-half Godman, who missed another two from reasonable range.
As the tide turned after the interval, Martin Rodriguez landed two penalties for Argentina before administering the coup de grâce two minutes from time with a drop goal.
For Robinson, after the two forward strides of the autumn wins against Fiji (23-10) and Australia, it was one big step backwards. Following the defensive masterclass against the Wallabies, the limitations of the attacking resources at the disposal of Scotland's head coach were laid soberingly bare.
They open their Six Nations Championship campaign with a visit from the French on 7 February, followed by a trip to Cardiff six days later. They will need to find some attacking clout from somewhere. "What concerns me is our ability to score tries," Robinson conceded. "We've got to improve our ability to break a side down. You've got to control the scoreboard and we didn't do that – therefore we deserved what we got. I'm bitterly disappointed at losing, and the players are as well, but it's a good learning experience for us. We have the ability to win any game, and similarly – as you've seen today – we have the ability to lose any game."
Scotland: Penalties Godman 2. Argentina: Penalties Rodriguez 2; Drop goal Rodriguez.
Scotland: R Lamont; S Lamont, B Cairns, A Grove, T Evans; P Godman, C Cusiter (capt); A Jacobsen, R Ford, M Low, N Hines, A Kellock, A Strokosch, A MacDonald, J Beattie. Replacements: C Paterson for R Lamont, 50; N De Luca for Cairns, 56; J White for Hines, 60; D Hall for Ford, 65; K Traynor for Jacobsen, 65; R Vernon for Strokosch, 73; R Lawson for Cusiter, 74.
Argentina: M Aguilla; L Borges, G Tiesi, M Rodriguez, F M Aramburu; S Fernandez, A Lalanne; M Ayerza, A Basualdo, M Scelzo, M Carrizza, P Albacete, A Campos, A Abadie, J M Fernandez-Lobbe (capt). Replacements: A Creevy for Basualdo, 39; R Roncero for Scelzo, 54; T Leonardi for Abadie, 69; A Figuerola for Lalanne, 69; H San Martin for Aramburu, 73.
Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).Reuse content