Scotland 14-9 Argentina: Gregor Townsend says Scots ‘must play better’ in Six Nations


Maitland try secures win for Scotland against Argentina

Scotland will need to “play better” than they showed this autumn to make an impact in next year’s Six Nations, believes head coach Gregor Townsend.

The Scots ended their campaign with a scrappy 14-9 victory over Argentina to finish with two wins from four games.

They were beaten 21-10 in Wales and lost 26-20 at home to South Africa, as well as thrashing Fiji 54-17.

“Obviously we will get a lot of learning from these four games,” Townsend told BBC Sport.

“We have played some tough opponents and we have got some tough opponents coming up, starting with Italy in the Six Nations [on 2 February].

“It is two months away but we have got to make sure we play better than we did over this period and keep improving as a team.”

Scotland open the 2019 Six Nations with home games against Italy and defending champions Ireland, with away games against France and England sandwiching a third home match against Wales.

Despite their struggles against a stubborn Argentina side, Townsend took heart from the way his side kept the Pumas try-less despite the visitors enjoying 60% of the possession.

“A couple of times in the second half our defensive line was breached but we got back in numbers to stop Argentina scoring tries,” he noted.

“I am impressed the team found a way to win. We were tested today. Argentina kept the ball for a lot of phases and they played well. The conditions meant it wasn’t going to be a game won off passing the ball wide.

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“We didn’t have our best first half admittedly, but I felt second half we brought more energy to the game and did enough to win.”

Townsend felt Stuart Hogg’s vision to spot an overlap on the right flank, and call the move which led to Sean Maitland’s fifth try in seven Tests, “was the moment that won us the game”.

“To notice that, and communicate it, but also for Greig Laidlaw to change his mind, instead of passing left but going right, that was good skill and execution.

“There was some great defence to stop Argentina scoring but that allowed us to get more than a score ahead.”

Captain Laidlaw felt Scotland “controlled the game” despite Argentina missing four kicks at goal that would have tested the hosts’ resolve even further.

“The conditions dictated how it was going to be played today,” he said. “It was never going to be high-scoring. International rugby is about winning and we have beaten a strong Argentina team, so we are delighted with the win.

“You’ve just got to be patient on days like this. Don’t try and attack too early. Play in the right areas. It was probably our defence that won us the game.”

Pumas coach Mario Ledesma said it “hurt” to lose a game he felt his side “physically dominated”, and believes Scotland hooker Fraser Brown was lucky not to be punished for a high tackle on winger Ramiro Moyano in the first half.

“There was a tweet