Scots fall foul of Robinson's Pumas jinx

Scotland 6 Argentina 9
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The Independent Online

Typical. You wait 27 years to get the better of the Wallabies and then, having done so, seven days later you're left suffering from the kind of kick in the teeth that Martin Rodriguez delivered two minutes from the end of this autumn chiller. The right boot of the Argentinian inside- centre succeeded yesterday where the left peg of Matt Giteau had so lamentably failed at the same end of Murrayfield the previous Saturday, his successful drop-goal administering a telling blow directly to the Caledonian solar plexus.

Poor Andy Robinson. There's something about those Pumas that turns his teams into pussy- cats. Three years ago they got his England side to roll over at Twickenham, signalling the beginning of the end of his Red Rose regime; yesterday, after an abject first-half showing, the Pumas dug in their claws and inflicted the first defeat of Robinson's tenure as Scotland's head coach. Following the two steps forward of home successes against Fiji and Australia, it was a step in a backward direction for the new Caledonian era – one that had boos ringing round a freezing, half-empty Murrayfield at the whistle.

After the defensive tour de force that did for the Wallabies, to the tune of 9-8, Robinson sent his team out to show their attacking teeth. The trouble was that when it came to the crunch, the Scots were wearing falsies. For the second Saturday in succession they failed to breach the opposition try-line – or reach double figures on the scoreboard, for that matter.

"You've got to control the scoreboard and we didn't do that," Robinson lamented. "As soon as it got to 6-3 it became a scrappy affair, and Argentina are good scrappers. The effort and commitment was there, but it's about getting the accuracy."

And that eluded Robinson's charges right from the start. They spread the ball wide in the early stages, only for their endeavour to founder on transgressions at the breakdown. Phil Godman landed a penalty on the quarter-hour, but Scotland's first-half domination was undermined by a lack of precision, both in their attacking execution and also with the boot.

A promising break up the middle by Sean Lamont came to nought when the wing's brother, Rory, was stopped short on the left, and then Godman failed to find Alasdair Strokosch with a cross-field kick to the right corner. Godman did manage to convert another penalty in the 36th minute but that was to be that on the scoring front for the Scots, who led 6-0 at the interval.

The Pumas had been toothless in the first half, but seven minutes into the second period it took a smart tackle from Evans to stop the wing Lucas Borges from scoring in the right corner. Sadly for Scotland, in diving into the ensuing ruck Rory Lamont twisted his left ankle and left the field on the medical cart. Nathan Hines also departed, with the referee, Alan Lewis, dispatching the lock to the cooler for a spear tackle on Gonzalo Tiesi.

Rodriguez converted the penalty that followed and Scotland's lead disappeared altogether when the fledgling centre landed another penalty in the 59th minute. It might have been different had one captain, Chris Cusiter, not been lassoed by the other, the back-tracking Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, on a right-wing break by the Scots midway through the second-half.

As it was, Robinson's men were always vulnerable to the drop-goal sucker punch that came after a lost defensive line-out two minutes from time.

Scotland R Lamont (C Paterson, 50); S Lamont, B Cairns (N De Luca, 56), A Grove, T Evans; P Godman, C Cusiter (capt; R Lawson, 74); A Jacobsen (K Traynor, 65), R Ford (D Hall, 65), M Low, N Hines (J White, 60), A Kellock, A Strokosch (R Vernon, 73), A MacDonald, J Beattie.

Argentina M Aguilla; L Borges, G Tiesi, M Rodriguez, F M Aramburu (H San Martin, 73); S Fernandez, A Lalanne (A Figuerola, 69); M Ayerza, A Basualdo (A Creevy, 39), M Scelzo (R Roncero, 54), M Carrizza, P Albacete, A Campos, A Abadie (T Leonardi, 69), J M Fernandez Lobbe (capt).

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).