Scotland recorded a workmanlike 13-9 victory over Argentina on Saturday, putting the seal on an historic series triumph in Mar del Plata.
Scotland recorded an impressive if workmanlike 13-9 win over Argentina on Saturday, putting the seal on their series success in Mar del Plata.
The wet weather did not help the match in an attacking sense as Scotland looked to follow up their Tucaman success. And that they did as a fine effort completed a double over the Pumas, who could not claw their way back after Jim Hamilton's early try was aided by Dan Parks' boot.
Scotland started the sprightlier with decent phase play that began inside their own half before a penalty saw last week's hero, Parks, push his forwards right into the corner. And from that resulting line-out, it was the soon-to-be Gloucester lock who powered over for the opener on three minutes. Parks' extras made it 0-7.
But after ten minutes of trying hard to find their feet and coughing up penalty after penalty, the hosts finally got onto the board via the boot of Felipe Contepomi after John Barclay had come off his feet at the breakdown. It proved to be the first segment of a Puma-dominated period in the rain as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe led from the front while his pivot knocked over another three on 20 minutes to cut the lead to one.
Ample offences were keeping French referee Christophe Berdos' arms busy but that did not halt what was becoming a free-flowing entertaining spectacle – the sight of veteran Rodrigo Roncero rampaging in the open spaces being a pleasure to watch for everyone except defending full-back Hugo Southwell.
And it was Berdos' whistle that preceded Parks knocking over his second of the game from halfway as his fine tour continued, taking the score up to 6-10 closing in on the half-hour. More was to come.
Scotland really are starting to look like a nation that is firmly buying into Andy Robinson's ideas, first apparent during the tail end of the Six Nations, and this double over the Pumas will be the ideal boost to their cause – not least the fact the duo meet each other in the pool stages of the 2011 World Cup.
Argentina would do well to address their discipline ahead of that tasty group as their penalty offences were a problem and finally got to Berdos, who sent Roncero to the sin-bin with three minutes remaining until the interval. Chance to get out of the rain for the doctor?
Santiago Phelan must have then dished out a few stern words to his men in the sheltered changing rooms, with the men in light blue showing a great deal more bite in defence upon the turnaround. The tacklers did well to soak up the best that Scotland had to offer and you just sensed a passage of Puma pressure was not too far away as their response.
The momentum had swung dramatically with the brute force of the Argentine pack coming into the game and enjoying the close exchanges just five metres from the visiting line. Three points on the hour from impressive full-back Martin Rodriguez – taking over the kicking tee from a hobbling Contepomi – was eventually their reward.
But Parks settled Scotland's nerves by kicking over from almost 40 metres and the visitors enjoyed a relatively comfortable spell despite a missed drop-goal from the fly-half.
The pressure then returned in the closing seconds but Scott MacLeod stole possession from an Argentinian line-out to spell the end of the home side's hopes as Robinson's outfit recorded three straight away wins for the first time since 1982 and their first ever away series win. Good times for Scotland, but Argnetina have stepped back from the glory days of 2007.
Pen: Contepomi 2, Rodriguez
Pen: Parks 2
Argentina: 15 Martin Rodriguez, 14 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi , 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Felipe Contepomi (c), 9 Agustin Figuerola, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Genaro Fessia, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Martin Scelzo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Marcos Ayerza, 17 Santiago Guzman, 18 Alejandro Campos, 19 Agustin Creevy 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Rafael Carballo, 22 Lucas Borges.
Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Max Evans, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Kellock (captain), 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Alasdair Strokosch, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Phil Godman, 22 Nick De Luca.
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)