All you need to know about Scotland's showdown with the Pumas this weekend.
Autumn Internationals Scotland v Argentina preview
Want a dose of ‘roller coaster’? Scotland are trying out some exciting new combinations while Argentina chase a much-needed win – they’ve only won two of their last 12 outings.
The Pumas have toppled both South Africa and Australia in 2018, but only four month into the coaching reign of former hooker and captain Mario Ledesma, the South Americans are in need of something more to show for all their recent efforts. Next week the side face the Barbarians at Twickenham, but they’ve already lost to Ireland and France in November.
Not that Scotland supremo Gregor Townsend is concerned about that opposition yearning for a result or the tight recent history between these two sides (see the stats section below). In the build-up to next year’s World Cup, Townsend is keen to see different combinations under pressure, including a midfield of Adam Hastings, Finn Russell and Huw Jones.
Scotland’s oh-so narrow loss to South Africa last week was encouraging and some players really showed their value, but a week is a long time in sport and there are clearly long-term plans in place. Plus if you can shoehorn three attack-minded midfielders into one backline, we’re all going to watch.
Here is what you should be aware of in the build-up to this clash.
What’s the big team news?
Scotland have made eight changes to the team that narrowly lost to South Africa last week, with head coach Townsend taking the opportunity to experiment.
The big one is that Finn Russell moves from ten to 12, with Adam Hastings installed at fly-half. Allan Dell, Fraser Brown and Simon Berghan make up the front row, Grant Gilchrist comes in at lock, while Jamie Ritchie and Josh Strauss slide into the back row.
Blair Kinghorn is in for Tommy Seymour, who returns to Glasgow this weekend alongside Pete Horne.
The Pumas only have a few big changes after succumbing to France last weekend. Guido Petti moves from back-row to lock, pushing Matías Alemanno onto the bench. Rodrigo Bruni will get his first ever start, at seven. In the backline, Matías Moroni replaces Matías Orlando, who drops to the bench.
There are some other notable inclusions on the bench too. Scrum-half Martín Landajo and wing Sebastián Cancelliere are in to feature in their first games of the November window.
What has been said?
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’ve been conscious of rotating the squad to enable as many players as possible to be in the best physical condition for each contest. We are expecting those selected this weekend to bring energy and huge effort to the game and seize the opportunity to perform at their best level against a very good team.
“It will be another huge challenge, not only for our forward pack, but also for our defence as Argentina play ambitious, skilful and effective attacking rugby.”
Argentina replacement wing Sebastian Cancelliere said: “The spirits are good. We know we are in the correct path. It’s been a year of changes but besides the losses to Ireland and France, we know we are in the correct path. These games we are using to improve our systems.
Any interesting statistics?
- Scotland have won their last four games in a row against Argentina, a winning streak that began in Cordoba in June 2014.
- The last time these two met at Murrayfield, it took a Greig Laidlaw penalty three minutes past the 80 to give them a 19-16 win, avoiding the draw.
- Argentina’s biggest ever win against Scotland was only by nine points, at Murrayfield in 2001. Their biggest ever win at home was only by six points, in June 2008. On the other side, Scotland’s biggest ever win was by 46 points, in 1990.
- Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma only played at Murrayfield once, in 2005, but the Pumas won 23-19. He played Scotland four more times, losing two and winning two.
Related: See Argentina face the Barbarians
What time does it kick off and is it on TV?
What are the line-ups?
Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Finn Russell, Blair Kinghorn; Adam Hastings Greig Laidlaw (captain); Alan Dell, Fraser Brown, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Alex Allan, Willem Nel, Sam Skinner, Ryan Wilson, George Horne, Alex Dunbar, Byron McGuigan.
Argentina: Emiliano Bofelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Santiago Garcia Botta, Agustin Creevy, Santiago Medrano, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera (captain), Rodrigo Bruni, Javier Ortega Desio.
Replacements: Julian Montoya, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Lucio Sordoni, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Martin Landajo, Matias, Orlando, Sebastian Cancelliere.
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