Ledesma: We gave Scotland the victory … it hurts
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.”