WELLINGTON, NZ – Pool B’s match of survival played down in torrential rain conditions between Scotland and Argentina, after Scotland had two wins under its belt from minnows Romania and Georgia. Meanwhile Argentina received the kiss of death from England, figuratively, and Argentinean hooker Mario Ledesma even literally from English colleague Steve Thompson – as the Pumas came to the game with a loss from Pool leader England.
The 26, 937 spectators who braved the elements at 40,000 capacity Wellington Regional Stadium witnessed a passionate game won 13-12 by Argentina, who came from behind before young Los Pumas prodigy Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino scored the game’s only and decisive try, which captain Felipe Contepomi successfully converted, sealing the fate of the Scottish team.
“I think we’ve got to take our hats off to Argentina to be able to find a way to win the game in the second half.” – said Scotland head coach Andy Robinson. – “We lost a game of rugby. We got to 12-6 and I felt like we were in control of the game. The reason we lost the game was a lapse of concentration.”
In the rainy, slippery conditions, both teams turned to their kicking game and substantial defense. The first penalty goal was placed by Contepomi in the 19th, that was answered by Scotland’s full back Chris Paterson’s in the 36th and fly half Ruaridh Jackson’s in the 39th, sending the Scottish with a 6-3 lead into half time.
In the second half, Argentinean defense stayed in place, allowing Contepomi to even the score with a penalty in the 64th, but only for a minute, as Jackson braved over a drop goal with precision from more than 35 meters. Six minutes later, Scotland gained the ball from a line-out and Dan Parks placed a second drop goal, putting Scotland to 6-12 lead at only eight minutes remaining.
“We know we need to play until the last minute; it’s a World Cup.” – said the young try-scorer. – “It’s very important to stay focused until the last minute.”
Scotland had a chance to retaliate with a line-out deep in Argentine territory, spreading the ball wide, but Parks missed the drop goal and the final opportunity to win the decisive game. And the celebration of thousands of rain soaked Argentinean began.
“Today was a win for us. It was very important for this group, a young group that worked really hard and a team that not many people, especially in Argentina, believed in.”– Contepomi said.
After this win, Argentina is most likely to face the All Blacks in the quarterfinals on 9 October at Eden Park, Auckland, further playing into the scenario of making the elimination rounds an all-Northern, all-Southern hemisphere affair.