The winger’s score with the clock in the red seals series win for Argentina
Watch: Emiliano Boffelli match-winning try against Scotland
The first two Tests between Argentina and Scotland weren’t of the highest quality, particularly when compared with the other North v South series that have taken place this month, but the two teams certainly delivered in the decider in Santiago del Estero.
This third Test was entertaining from the off, momentum swinging one way and then the other. And there was late drama too.
Emiliano Boffelli looked like he was going to score the opening try inside four minutes when Matias Moroni broke through and offloaded, but the winger couldn’t take the pass.
He slotted a penalty from halfway shortly afterwards, though, and more than made up for that early fumble in the final minute. He scored the match-winning try – and converted it – when the clock was in the red.
So how did we get to the late drama? Let’s start with the first try. Blair Kinghorn popped the ball out of the tackle and Duhan van der Merwe surged clear to reach the line, even with a couple of defenders trying to bring him down.
Then Argentina showed their attacking skills with a well-constructed counter-attack. It ended with Boffelli passing to Santiago Carreras, who sprinted for the line.
It was 10-7 after 20 minutes and there was more to come in the second quarter, with the next try made and scored by the pack.
Kinghorn found touch five metres out from a penalty, Scotland set the maul and powered over, with Ewan Ashman touching down.
Boffelli kicked another penalty before the break to make it a one-point game at half-time, but Scotland were quick to add to their lead with two tries in five minutes early in the second half.
First Ashman got his second, Kinghorn finding him out wide and the hooker bursting over in the corner.
Not to be out done, van der Merwe completed his brace after a searing break from Mark Bennett took play into the Pumas 22. The Scottish forwards worked the ball closer to the line, van der Merwe picked it up from the base of a ruck under the posts and dived over from a couple of metres. A somewhat shorter finish than the winger is accustomed to.
The hosts did not let Scotland pull further clear, though. Taking advantage of a penalty, they found touch in the Scottish 22, got their maul moving, and a couple of phases later Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro got over from close range.
Scotland’s next points came from Kinghorn’s boot, when the visitors were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but the Pumas kept the pressure on from the restart and replacement scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou nipped to the side of a ruck for their third try. It was 31-27 heading into the final ten minutes.
Scotland turned down a shot at the posts to go for touch and a five-metre lineout, but their set move did not pay off as they were held up over the line and the Pumas could clear.
They are sure to rue that decision – and others heading towards the final whistle – given what happened in the final minutes.
The Pumas did not let up and they reaped the rewards as the clock turned red. Awarded a penalty five metres out, they opted for a scrum and from there they spun the ball wide and Boffelli, who plays his club rugby for Edinburgh, ran in the winning try in the corner.
The Pumas win the match 34-31 and the series 2-1. And Scotland have lessons to learn.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.