Argentina laboured to a 25-7 win over Georgia at Arena Manawatu on Sunday, to book their place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Argentina laboured to a 25-7 win over Georgia at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North on Sunday, to book their place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Any hope Scotland may have had of sneaking into the last eight through the back door, was shut in their face following the Pumas' three tries to one victory in Pool B.
As the scoreline reflects, Georgia put up a brave fight and at times another World Cup upset looked on the cards – especially after leading Argentina by two points (5-7) at half-time.
However, the South Americans scored 20 unanswered points after the break that included a 67th minute try to skipper Felipe Contepomi and another by replacement AgustÃn Gosio on the stroke of full-time to put the result beyond doubt.
But whilst Argentina march on to face the injury-hit All Blacks in next weekend's knockout clash, the Georgians leave New Zealand with their pride intact.
A scrappy and error-strewn first half saw both sides struggle to get going. Argentina's handling let them down too often despite some impressive running from the back division, while Georgia were their own worst enemy with their ill-discipline.
The eastern Europeans were let off the hook twice as Contepomi's woes with the boot in the tournament continued, with the Pumas captain missing two simple shots at goal.
With both teams still scorless in the first half, Argentina finally breached the Georgia defence after speedster Juan Jose Imhoff crossed the chalkdust nine minutes before the break.
Contepomi missed the conversion from far out, while Georgia full-back Malkhaz Urjukashvili missed his chance to cut the deficit as his penalty attempt went wide.
However Georgia moved into a surprise lead as fly-half Lasha Khmaladze crossed for his first international try. The number ten won the race to Alexander Todua's chip ahead, with Urjukashvili converting to give Georgia a 7-5 advantage at half-time – and hope to Scotland.
Contepomi finally found his range 10 minutes after the break following a sustained spell of pressure to put the Pumas back in front. The veteran centre added a second penalty to move Argentina into a four-point lead, while Marcelo Bosch was off-target with a long-range attempt.
Contepomi then stepped unside two defenders for a well-worked try after the ball was spread wide following an initial break from hard-working flank Julio Farias Cabello.
The centre converted his own try and whilst the result was locked away in the bank, Argentina weren't done yet. Contepomi was replaced by Gosio and the centre made an immediate impact by racing on to a grubber kick ahead by Imhoff for a sensational score in the corner.
Bosch converted from the touchline in the final minute to put the icing on the cake for Argentina.
Man of the match: Pumas loose forward Juan Manuel LeguizamÃ³n was a tireless figure for 80 minutes.
Moment of the match: Don't you just love it when the underdogs score a try? We do too!
Villain of the match: Nothing to report.
Tries: Imhoff, Contepomi, Gosio
Cons: Contepomi, Bosch
Pens : Contepomi
Argentina: 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (c), 11 Juan Jose Imhoff, 10 Santiago FernÃ¡ndez, 9 NicolÃ¡s Vergallo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel LeguizamÃ³n, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma Arocena, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 AgustÃn Creevy, 17 MartÃn Scelzo, 18 Tomas Vallejos, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 AgustÃn Gosio, 22 MartÃn RodrÃguez.
Georgia: 15 Malkhaz Urjukashvili, 14 Lekso Gugava, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (c), 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Goderdzi Shvelidze, 18 Giorgi Nemsadze, 19 Ilia Zedginidze, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Merab Kvirikashvili, 22 Lasha Malaguradze.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)