Date: 25th September 2011
Time: 8.30 am BST/ 8.30pm NZT
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium
Official: Wayne Barnes, ENG
There were some surprising omissions from the squad this week; both Alastair Kellock and Chris Cusiter not even named on the bench, however many suspect that they are being rested ahead of the clash with England in a week’s time. Rory Lawson takes the captaincy, and will be looking to continue his successful reign; Scotland have won all four games with him in charge. The front row sees the usual combination of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Geoff Cross line up, with Alasdair Dickinson and Dougie Hall on the bench, leaving many questioning why Andy Robinson brought Moray Low along, as this is the third game that he has not been named for.
Ruaridh Jackson is favoured over Dan Parks at fly half, and with this move Scotland have shown their hand. Jackson has a much more running style of play, suggesting that Scotland are going to really attempt to open which will be a crucial factor in getting the backs involved, and over the line, which with a lethal combination of Sean Lamont, Graeme Morrison, Nick de Luca, Max Evans and Chris Paterson lining up there they will be eager to do.
Argentina have met Scotland 15 times before, and come out on top with 9 victories to Scotland’s 6. However Scotland have the edge with the more recent victories coming in Argentina, over the summer of last year. So this year, will Argentina be out for revenge?
No doubt team morale will have been boosted by the return of their captain (Dr) Felipe Contepomi at inside centre. After injuring a rib during the England game, he underwent an arduous fitness regime which has clearly paid off, and come at the right time, as, like Scotland, Argentina need to win this match to keep hope of progressing through to the knock-out stages alive.
What to expect:
This game is either going to follow the pattern of the majority of big team games so far; lots of stops and starts, slow ball, and penalties a plenty. Or it will really open up and be characterised by speed, innovation and tries. As both teams play far better with the second style, I am hoping to see this as they go for the win, and the bonus point.
All Eyes On:
Ruaridh Jackson will be key for the Scottish game, and possibly this will be the position where the game is won and lost. If he plays well, plenty of ball in hand, and good control then Scotland’s opportunities will come thick and fast. However if we have a flat game from Jackson, with aimless kicks and no control, then the game will definitely go Argentina’s way. A lot of responsibility for the young player to handle in a high stakes game.
Julio Farias Cabello another Argentinian player returning to the squad: a hamstring injury prevented him from participating in the win over Romania. Slotting into the squad at blindside flanker, he faces formidable opposition from the Scottish back row. Cabello will be looking to reassert himself in Argentina’s game, and neutralise the efforts of players like John Barclay.
Head to Head: Sean Lamont vs. Horacio Agulla
The Scarlets winger takes on the Leicester Tigers wing. Both are multi-tasking players who fans will be used to seeing moving all around the backs. And in this game both are playing in a position that suits them well.
Lamont has the international experience, 55 caps to Agulla’s 26, and has scored the more points. And I feel that this will be an interesting battle, but one that will see the Scottish winger emerge victorious.
The last time the two teams met was during last summer’s tour. Scotland beat the Argentinians on their own soil in June 2010. Argentina 9-13 Scotland.
Rain, and wind. 13° max.
A close run game is on the cards here, with either team looking as though they could win it. Scotland have made it through to the quarterfinals of every world cup so far, and will not be happy with anything less. I think that this desire will give them the edge, but only just. Scotland by 5.