U20 | Scotland 13-29 Argentina
Scotland U20 lost their second match of the World Rugby U20 Championship despite a strong second-half showing which saw Bryan Redpath’s young side claw to within two points of a slick Argentinian outfit.
Los Pumitas shot out to a 12-0 lead after only 20 minutes and looked to be heading for a comfortable victory, but when Callum McLelland scored an impressive solo effort it was game on heading into the second-half.
Scotland had all the momentum when scrum-half Charlie Chapman confidently slotted home two penalties in the opening ten minutes of the second period and the score remained 13-15 until the 70th minute.
However, as fatigue set in, Scotland were served a cruel blow when the impressive Mateo Carreras romped home to make it a nine-point game heading into the final ten minutes.
And with time expired Los Pumitas – who suffered defeat against Scotland’s next opponents, England, in the opening fixture of the tournament – were awarded a penalty try which secured the bonus-point and added gloss to the scoreline.
Scotland captain, Stafford McDowall, was understandably frustrated following the loss, but remained adamant that his side will keep their heads up heading into Thursday’s England clash.
“I think we gave ourselves a chance with around 15-20 minutes to go, but we just couldn’t keep hold of the ball and that’s what cost us. Argentina got two breakaway tries at the end there,” admitted McDowall.
We’ll definitely pick ourselves up for the England game. We’ve obviously played them before in the Six Nations and we know what they’re all about. We know that we need to get a win in that last match.
It was Argentina who shot out of the blocks to start the match as a powerful line break from back-row Sabtiango Grondona brought his side to within only metres of Scotland’s whitewash.
With the young Scots’ defence drifting wide, stand-off Juan Bautista Daireaux stole a half-step on his opposite man before offloading to the supporting Juan Pablo Castro, who had the simple task of dotting down.
Los Pumitas continued to probe at Scotland’s defence and it wasn’t long until they crossed for their second try of the afternoon.
Winger Leopoldo Herrera was the man to finish a slick backline move which saw the ball worked out wide at pace.
However, despite the early setback, Scotland began to grow into match and in their first meaningful attack of the afternoon, they were rewarded with seven-points.
With the ball just over half-way, McLelland dummied inside to Devante Onojaife – throwing the Los Pumitas defence – before gliding round the trailing Argentinian defenders to dive under the sticks. It was a piece of magic from the Edinburgh stand-off and it brought Scotland U20 right back into the clash.
Although Daireaux would nail a penalty on half-time to extend his side’s lead to 7-15, Scotland began the second period with a renewed confidence.
Although openside Rory Darge would end as Scotland’s top defender with 17 tackles made, it was Heriot’s Martin Hughes who would wrestle his side back into contention.
The blindside flanker carried brilliantly all afternoon, while his ability at the breakdown proved invaluable throughout the 80 minutes.
As Charlie Chapman nailed a pair of tricky penalties, Scotland were within just two points and looking the side more likely to jump in front.
The game would ebb and flow, and whilst Argentina would have a try chalked off due to a high tackle on Darge, there wasn’t a great deal between the two sides.
However, on 71 minutes, Scotland were caught undone. As Daireaux once again shimmied through a gap, the ball was offloaded to the explosive Carreras who provided the coup de grace.
Scotland would continue to battle, but as the Argentinian pack bruised their way over the line with time expired, the referee awarded a penalty try, which ultimately added shine to the scoreline.
Scotland’s final group game is against Six Nations rivals England on Thursday (kick-off 8pm BST/ 9pm local time), with the match again streamed live on worldrugby.org.