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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Saturday, 28 November 2009

Scotland 6-9 Argentina

Scotland (6) 6
Pens: Godman 2
Argentina (0) 9
Pens: Rodriguez 2 Drop-goal: Rodgriguez

Martin Rodriguez secures victory at Murrayfield
Rodriguez stepped up to round off Argentina's second-half fight-back

By James Standley

Scotland's 100% record under new coach Andy Robinson came to an end as Argentina extended their winning run at Murrayfield to 19 years.

The hosts dominated the first half on Saturday but only led 6-0 at half-time through two Phil Godman penalties.

Martin Rodriguez landed two of his own to level the scores after 58 minutes.

And the Pumas' inside-centre clinched victory with a 77th-minute drop-goal, which means Scotland have not beaten Argentina at Murrayfield since 1990.

Scotland went into the game full of confidence after a first win in 27 years against Australia last weekend.


But they have a poor record against the Pumas and despite being the more enterprising side they have now lost four matches in a row at Murrayfield to the South Americans.

The Pumas are a shadow of the side that finished third in the 2007 World Cup, where they ended Scotland's hopes, and they had lost both their previous Tests this autumn, against England and Wales.

But despite being totally outplayed for the first 40 minutes in Edinburgh they roused themselves after the break and the dominance of their pack in the scrum and at rucks enabled them to grind down their hosts and claim victory.

After Scotland's defensive heroics against the Wallabies, Robinson had decided his team needed an injection of pace and creativity and in came Thom Evans, Ben Cairns and Alan MacDonald.

He had clearly instructed his team to keep the ball in hand and they responded with a bright start, with 6ft 7in second row Nathan Hines featuring prominently as the hosts varied their attack, probing both through the middle and out wide.

Robinson laments lack of first-half scores

They pinned Argentina in their half and although the visitors were handed the chance to open the scoring on a rare foray into enemy territory, Rodriguez was well wide with a long-range penalty.

Scotland were soon back on the attack and although they could not break down the visitors' defence, when they infringed at a ruck Godman got the scoreboard ticking over just before the 15-minute mark.

The pattern of the half was established early on, with Scotland trying to run the Pumas off their feet and Argentina defending in committed fashion.

Any possession the visitors secured they were happy to hoof down field, which meant Scotland were dominating territory and possession.

In order to slow the Scots' attack, Argentina were forced to repeatedly infringe at the ruck and although Godman missed two tricky penalty attempts, he was successful shortly before the break to make it 6-0 to Scotland.

Despite their dominance Scotland had struggled to create try-scoring chances.

Johnnie Beattie despairs after the final whistle
Argentina's victory was hard to take for Johnnie Beattie

The nearest they came was when Sean Lamont scythed through the middle and it looked as though they must score in the corner, but brother Rory could not get the final pass away and some heroic defence from Argentina saw the Pumas escape.

Given that the Scots had been comprehensively outgunned in terms of territory and possession the previous week against Australia - the only area they came out on top was on the scoreboard - they would have appreciated their change in fortune, but all that was to change following the break.

After their limited approach in the first 40 minutes Argentina decided they had to open things up and they soon trimmed the gap through a Rodriguez penalty after Hines was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Pumas centre Gonzalo Tiesi.

At the same time the hosts saw full-back Rory Lamont stretchered off to be replaced by Chris Paterson, winning his 98th cap, after he fell awkwardly on his left ankle making a tackle.

The momentum had swung firmly in favour of the visitors and with their scrum in the ascendancy they drew level through Rodriguez's boot midway through the half.

Phelan praises Pumas defence

When Hines's 10 minutes was up Robinson decided to withdraw him permanently in favour of Jason White.

But the Scots continued to struggle in the scrum and they were lucky to escape when Rodriguez pulled a penalty attempt wide.

Scotland tried desperately to raise the tempo and one enterprising break from their own 22 saw Cusiter hunted down 10m from the Argentina line by the Pumas' outstanding captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

But Argentina's power was now winning out over Scotland's pace and, after Santiago Fernandez had missed a long-range drop-goal, their pack engineered another chance.

Rodriguez drilled the ball unerringly between the posts to ensure Argentina maintained their superb record at Murrayfield and ruined Robinsons' pristine record in the process.

Scotland: R Lamont; S Lamont, Cairns, Grove, T Evans; Godman, Cusiter; Jacobsen, Ford, Low, Hines, Kellock, Strokosch, MacDonald, Beattie.

Replacements: Paterson for R Lamont (49), De Luca for Cairns (55), R. Lawson for Cusiter (73), Traynor for Jacobsen (64), Hall for Ford (64), White for Hines (59), Vernon for Strokosch (72).

Argentina: Agulla; Borges, Tiesi, Rodriguez, Aramburu; Fernandez, Lalanne; Ayerza, Basualdo, Scelzo, Carizza, Albacete, Campos, Abadie, Fernandez Lobbe.

Replacements: San Martin for Aramburu (72), Figuerola for Lalanne (78), Creevy for Basualdo (39), Roncero for Scelzo (54), Leonardi for Abadie (88).

Not Used: Lozada, Urdapilleta.

Att: 30,000

Ref: A Lewis (Ireland).

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see also
Final pass frustrates Robinson
28 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Autumn international rugby as it happened
28 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Johnstone hopes for Scots hat-trick
27 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Robinson warns of wounded Pumas
27 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Argentina change six for Scotland
25 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
MacDonald to make Scotland debut
24 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Robinson wants to inspire nation
24 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Jubilant Scots target clean sweep
23 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Scotland 9-8 Australia
21 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Scotland 23-10 Fiji
14 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Wales 33-16 Argentina
21 Nov 09 |  Welsh

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