Scotland under-20 endured a tough start to their 2013 Junior World Championship campaign with a 44-13 loss to last season’s semi-finalists, Argentina.
The Pumas' immense physicaltiy was the telling factor in the match, and yielded a penalty try as well as numerous breakdown-earned opportunities for marksman Patricio Fernandez who contributed 29 individual points in an impressive display.
Two fine tries from Jamie Farndale and Mark Bennett got the Scots back in it before Fernandez continued to gradually extend his side's lead with the boot.
A late yellow card for centre Chris Auld then opened the door to two late Argentine scores to end the match.
Scotland under-20 head coach Sean Lineen, said: “We were up against it tonight.
"They were incredibly physical, they gave us no headway at all and we didn’t handle it. We frequently struggled for field position and at the breakdown.
“On the plus side our lineout was very good and we scored two cracking tries from from set piece moves, which were part of our game plan, but we deviated from that on occasion and were punished.
I feel for the boys because they have put in a huge amount of work to get here but, we just couldn’t match the physicality of the side ranked fourth best in the world.
The Pumas opened a healthy lead within a quarter of an hour ,with two Fernandez penalties and a converted penalty-try, before the young Scots showed signs of a resurgence (13-0).
Glasgow Warriors’ centre Bennett and Edinburgh Rugby wing Farndale both crossed the whitewash, either side of a penalty kick from their Perpignan stand-off Tommy Allan (13-8).
That, however, was the end of the Scots’ contribution to the score sheet in the half, as the immensely powerful Argentines imposed themselves on the match, first with a converted try from wing Rodrigo Etchart and then with two further Fernandez penalties.
Half-time: Argentina under-20 (26-13) Scotland under-20
Allan missed the chance to kick his men into ten-point range with a 41st minute penalty which was later punished by Fernandez' accuracy when he discected the posts on the 45th and 52nd minute, extending the lead (32-13).
Auld's yellow card then offered the Argentine’s the space they needed to put the foot on the gas, with a further two scores from Fernandez and captain Felipe Ezcurra to seal the game (FT: 44-13).
Next in the Championships for Lineen’s lads are Wales, who defeated Argentina to finish 3rd in last season’s championships.
Acknowledging the strength of this season's Pool opponents, Lineen added: “Wales are another very physical side and will play a lot of rugby.
'We need to go away, knuckle down, regroup and come out firing to have our best shot at Wales.”
Argentina under-20: Santiago Cordero; Rodrigo Etchart, Joaquin Paz, Juan Pablo Aguirre, German Schultz; Felipe Ezcurra CAPTAIN, Patricio Fernandez; Lucas Noguera Paz, Santiago Iglesias, Matias Diaz, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Tomas Lavanini, Tomas Lezana, Pablo Matera, Facundo Isa. Substitutes: Facundo Gigena on for Paz (69'), Julian Montoya on for Iglesias (56'), Tomas Ramirez on for Diaz (71'), Vittorio Rosti, Geronimo Mazzoni on for Lezzana (71'), Juan Bernardini, Emiliano Boffelli, Axel Muler on for Etchart (56').
Scotland under-20 team: 15 Ruaridh Young; Jamie Farndale, Chris Auld, Mark Bennett, Rory Hughes; Tommy Allan, Scott Steele; Jamie Bhatti, Russell Anderson, D’Arcy Rae, Adam Sinclair, Jonny Gray CAPTAIN, Tommy Spinks, Will Bordill, Adam Ashe. Substitutes: Reyner Kennedy onfor Anderson (69'), Robby Wilson on for Bhatti (69'), Phil Cringle on for Rae (53'), Ruaridh Leishman on for Ashe (71'), Eoghan Masterson on for Spinks (53'), Ali Price for Steel (49'), Robbie Fergusson on for Allan (59'), Damien Hoyland on for Young (56').
* = supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport
Scotland under-20 JWC fixture schedule:
Argentina under-20 (44-13) Scotland under-20
Scotland U20 v Wales U20, Sunday 9 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, KO 5pm local time
Scotland U20 v Samoa U20, Thursday 13 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, KO 7pm local time
Scotland’s two subsequent opponents will depend on how they fare in the above matches.