Ledesma: We gave Scot­land the vic­tory … it hurts

The Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - BY STE­WART FISHER

to brighten a largely dour, at­tri­tional for­ward-ori­en­tated bat­tle.

“As you saw, it was a scrappy game,” Mait­land agreed. “

The first half prob­a­bly wasn’t the best 40 min­utes that we played for a while. There was a lot of turnover ball and ob­vi­ously that was just the con­di­tions.

“You know how we want to play. We want to chuck the ball around and have fun, but we went to more of a kick­ing game to­day.

“We had op­por­tu­ni­ties and made some line-breaks and prob­a­bly we’re a bit dis­ap­pointed we didn’t fin­ish off those line-breaks. But, yeah, a scrappy game.”

He added: “It was just frus­trat­ing, get­ting a roll on, then los­ing the ball. That is frus­trat­ing. The two line-breaks they did make ... some­thing I was happy about was our cover de­fence to get back in the line, and get them turned over. But I’ll prob­a­bly for­get pretty quick.”

All in all Mait­land, with eight tries in his last 13 Tests, was happy to fin­ish the Au­tumn Tests with a vic­tory and praised the ca­pac­ity crowd at Mur­ray­field for their as­sis­tance.

“There is just so much com­pe­ti­tion. To get three starts, that’s good, and the Six Na­tions are just around the cor­ner. I’ll just keep do­ing my job and do­ing it for the team.

“The thing that pleased me to­day was that we are learn­ing how to grind out a game – well, I do say that, but we were try­ing to lose it at the end, jeez, hon­estly.

“But the crowd were great. A few years ago we were play­ing Ge­or­gia at Kil­marnock and we couldn’t sell that out and now we sell out Fiji and 11 games in a row here, which is just amaz­ing. And that’s just down to the boys try­ing to en­ter­tain the crowd.” about this game MARIO Ledesma, the Ar­gentina head coach, in­sisted last night that Scot­land hadn’t found a way to win their fi­nal in­ter­na­tional match of the au­tumn – his team had gifted it to them. The South Amer­i­cans have taken the scalps of South Africa and Aus­tralia since ap­point­ing the former hooker and cap­tain in Au­gust and the 45-yearold felt his side should have added Scot­land to that list yes­ter­day were it not for four missed penalty kicks and two late line-breaks they failed to cap­i­talise on.

“I don’t think they found a way to win, we gave them the win,” Ledesma said af­ter­wards. “It hurts a lot to lose a game like this. Against Ire­land they dom­i­nated the game but I thought phys­i­cally we dom­i­nated.”

Ledesma’s mood wasn’t helped by the fact he felt Scot­land hooker Fraser Brown should have been yel­low-carded at least for a dan­ger­ous tackle on the jaw of winger Ramiro Sanchez which ref­eree Paul Wil­liams de­cided was wor­thy only of a penalty.

“There was a tweet about all the red cards and yel­low cards that should have been awarded to play­ers and this is one of them,” said Ledesma. “Clearly he is late, he ap­plies force. It ticks all the boxes.”

Townsend, un­sur­pris­ingly, chose to place a dif­fer­ent em­pha­sis on events – not least be­cause they have been on the wrong end of close matches to Wales and South Africa al­ready this au­tumn.

While he de­clared him­self happy with his side’s ef­forts this au­tumn, he con­firmed that yes­ter­day’s game plan had been cur­tailed due to the slip­pery con­di­tions, and in­sisted his side will have to sharpen up in the con­tact area be­fore the Six Na­tions ticks round in Fe­bru­ary.

“There are dif­fer­ent ways to win a game and we’re de­lighted we got a break­through with that try and found a way to win the game,” he said.

“But we’ll an­a­lyse this game and look at things we didn’t do as well as planned. I felt the con­tact area is still one we need to im- prove. I think Ar­gentina got two or three penal­ties for hold­ing on from us and that is an area we have to be bet­ter at when we go into the Six Na­tions.”

While it was re­vealed yes­ter­day that big-hearted Scot­land play­ers were do­nat­ing a to­tal of £10,000 from their match fees for Dod­die Weir’s char­ity, the My Name’5 Dod­die trust, these were hardly ideal con­di­tions with which to as­sess the un­usual axis of Adam Hast­ings at fly-half with Finn Rus­sell at No 12.

“Noth­ing will be per­fect the first time you put peo­ple in new po­si­tions in in­ter­na­tional rugby,” Townsend said. “Adam, I felt, got more into the game as the first half went on. I think he had two line­breaks, which was pleas­ing to see, and I thought that Finn re­ally took a grip on the game when he moved to 10.” Cap­tain Laid­law, pic­tured, who con­trib­uted nine of Scot­land’s 14 points on a dif­fi­cult day for kick­ers, praised his team’s de­fen­sive ef­fort and said that all in all the team were in a good place as they look ahead to the Six Na­tions and the Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan.

“A shut-out was tremen­dous. We won’t do that too of­ten in in­ter­na­tional rugby,” he said. “Could we have played a lit­tle bit bet­ter? Yes, we could have. But we are­de­lighted with the win and we scored a nice try around the edge at the end to take a game away from them. “At times it was very frus­trat­ing, but some­times you just have to be pa­tient.

“At this level it is about scor­ing more points than the op­po­si­tion and win­ning the games.

“We are de­lighted to do that.”

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