Scotland finally closed out a tight one at BT Murrayfield as Greig Laidlaw’s penalty with the final kick of the game clinched a narrow victory over Argentina in the second Autumn Test.
The captain had just minutes before hit the post with a penalty and Finn Russell hadn’t been able to convert two drop goals as the Scots finally wrested control in the dying embers of a pretty poor all-around contest, but the home side and 50,000 crowd didn’t care much about that when the victory was finally secured.
Referee Ben O’Keefe gave a penalty for a chop tackle as Argentina attempted to defend the final seconds, Laidlaw this time making the kick from dead in front to the acclaim of the crowd.
Argentina seemed to have control of the game after half-time with Matias Orlando’s try, but the Scots bounced back with a counter from Sean Maitland and probably edged an error-filled contest at the end of a tense second-half.
While Scotland had started with fervour and speed against the Wallabies, it was a turgid first half against the Pumas with both sides attempting to outdo each other in errors and poor execution.
Every time the Scots got possession with potential to ask questions of the Argentine defence they knocked on or were turned over, and they were grateful for a goal-line stand to stay narrowly ahead at the break.
Laidlaw kicked an early penalty after a kick and chase by Russell, but there was nothing to excite the Murrayfield crowd save for a smart break by Puma scrum-half Martin Landajo which the Scots tidied up after the scrum-half kicked too far.
Laidlaw extended Scotland’s lead with a penalty in 24 minutes after Argentina has offended at the scrum, but the Pumas nearly hit back when the Scots guddled the kick-off.
From solid scrum ball centre Matias Orlando smashed through Finn Russell and two smart off-loads had Sanchez snared by debutant Magnus Bradbury’s saving tackle just at the line.
The Pumas forced two scrums in the shadow of the posts before a smother tackle and a fumble allowed Laidlaw to boot the loose ball up to halfway and lift the siege.
Just before half-time, however, Hamish Watson was penalised for not rolling away and Sanchez kicked Argentina on to the scoreboard with a long penalty.
The visitors then seized control as the second half started with a double strike worth ten points to jump into the lead.
First Sanchez kicked a penalty for a maul infringement and then the stand-off’s perfect cross kick behind Maitland found Orlando shaking off the Scotland wing and Stuart Hogg’s cover tackle to run behind the posts, the conversion taking Argentina 13-6 ahead.
The lead lasted just four minutes however, with Scotland attacking off lineout ball, Huw Jones stepping through a tackle and then firing the scoring pass to Maitland to dive over in the corner, Laidlaw making the tight conversion to tie the scores again.
Scotland were now struggling in scrums and a penalty against them deep in their 22 resulted in Sanchez kicking Argentina back in front, only for the Pumas to be caught napping at the restart and having to hurry the ball into touch.
The Scots laboured a bit with the attacking ball but won a penalty straight in front and Laidlaw levelled the scores again.
Finn Russell dragged a drop goal wide as Scotland enjoyed the better of the final minutes and Argentina conceded a silly penalty at a lineout with three minutes left.
However Laidlaw’s kick hit the post and although Maitland following up got the ball, Russell’s second drop goal attempt was charged down.
But they won the ball back and the reckless tackle by Puma replacement Leguizamon allowed Laidlaw a second chance to snatch victory with his fourth penalty as time ran out.
Att: 50, 481
Scotland: S Hogg; S Maitland, H Jones (P Horne 58 (T Visser 79)), A Dunbar, T Seymour; F Russell, G Laidlaw (capt); A Dell (A Allan 74), F Brown (R Ford 68), Z Fagerson (M Low 51); J Gray, G Gilchrist ; M Bradbury (R Wilson 51), H Watson, J Barclay.
Argentina: J Tuculet; M Moroni (J de la Fuente 75), M Orlando (JP Estelles 71), J M Hernandez, S Cordero; N Sanchez, M Landajo (T Cubelli 58); L Noguera (E Pierretto 71), A Creevy (capt, J Montoya 71), R Herrera (SG Botta 71); G Petti, M Alemanno; P Matera, KJ O Desio (JM Leguizamon 71), F Isa (L Senatore 55).
Ref: B O’Keefe (NZRU)