Scotland hooker Ross Ford reckons Scotland’s nail-biting success in their final pool match against Italy will be ideal preparation for Sunday’s World Cup quarter final match against Argentina in Paris.
The Italians are renowned for their scrummaging, but then so are the Argentinians and Ford believes that will help his side deal with what will be a physical game at the Stade de France.
He said: “I thought we did quite well against Italy. Argentina have got a good scrum too. We therefore know what to expect as it will be pretty much the same as Italy so if we can control that area, we will be in with a shout.
"Last week wasn’t a free flowing game but at the scrum it was very physical and therefore it was an ideal warm up for the Argentina game."
“I suppose we were under pressure last week given Scotland has always qualified for the quarter finals. But come this stage we’ve done all the hard work and now we are only refining things and so it’s all about enjoying it from now on in."
Part of Scotland’s match preparations includes looking at how their opposition play and Scotland analyst Gavin Scott believes the Argentinian pack will be every bit as strong as the Italians. He said: “They’re not just scrummagers anymore. We’ve looked at their lineouts and they’re good. They haven’t lost many, they’re very flexible and not dominated by the second rows as all back five tend to jump. I believe their strength is that they’ve played together for around five or six years and that experience makes a huge difference.
”Ireland had to do a lot of running back in their game and found themselves isolated which was good for Argentina as they are very physical and like turning over ball. I think it suited Argentina as the Irish played into their hands.
”The Argentinian back line is a bit quicker although possibly not as big as Italy. There will be a lot of similarity, in the kicking game, strength of forwards and similar style of rugby.”
Hooker Scott Lawson came off the bench in the previous match between the two countries at Murrayfield in November 2005, which the visitors won 23-19. Speaking about the Pumas’ performance almost two years ago, he reasoned: “We were unfortunate not to get the result that day. We felt we were hard done by when they were awarded a penalty try. Allan Jacobsen, who’s no longer with us on tour because of his calf injury, kicked a ball and the referee said it was illegal. But that was a while ago and they’ve been together a while now so will be better for it.
”I think you know people you play against a lot and many of these guys play their rugby over here in Europe. We’ve played against Felipe Contepomi in the Magners League and he’s one to watch but it makes it a little easier as you know what he’s about.”