Scotland v Argentina; Battle of the…could be Champions

Scotland v Argentina; Battle of the...could be Champions
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Situated not quite out in front, but nestled somewhere in the mid-range are two sides who have yet to effectively ‘stamp their mark’ on this November test window. So during the Scotland v Argentina fixture on Saturday, eyes will be on the pair – a couple who could be Champions but, that is entirely up to them.

Winning is a habit, one which neither side are now practiced at. Scotland are the only team in fact who have accomplished one win; from their three International matches. Argentina have even less. Zero, if you are counting. And many observers have been.

For a team with as much promise, and such enthusiastic supporters, Argentina’s inability to cement a place at the apex of rugby is of real concern.

That concern is as high in the northern parts of Great Britain. The flower of Scotland appeared to bloom brightly, with some terrific results over the last 24 months yet, the sides inconsistent results have not peaked enough for fans. Commentators find it hard to believe that Scotland is a true contender.

They both could be Champions though if the stars aligned. Scotland – Six Nations claimants. And Argentina – The Rugby Championship is their objective. Still, they each hold aspirations of a certain tournament held once every four years. Hopes that if they play at their peak, it could be the things dreams are made of.

Scotland v Argentina; Battle of the…could be Champions

‘Could be’ is a huge expectation tough. A huge weight, and for many, a weight too heavy. It can put unwanted pressure on shoulders that have never held the weight. If not established players, than for new players coming through – expectation can be a barrier to aspiring to their own dreams.

Many players and teams have had to make that distinction clear. To be prepared to embrace the challenge, and importantly at the end of the 2018 International season, the victor in this clash can step a little taller, going into a Rugby World Cup year.

Crucial you might say, and for Gregor Townsend and Mario Ledesma, it might be the one result they need more than others. Because losing to sides placed higher than yourself can still provide gains. But, when failing against a comparable team can feel…..can feel ten times worse.

It is the match they might feel they have a strong chance of winning, and in that context; Scotland v Argentina will be one of the more competitive fixtures, this weekend.

Murrayfield support worth extra points to Scotland

Home crowd support is vital, so during the Scotland v Argentina match, fans voices will be a key factor. They could be worth extra points, as seen last weekend in Dublin. The vociferous cheers and songs sung when Ireland were on the attack, would have boosted players confidence. A proven factor in almost every test match and Scottish fans must find their voices on Saturday.

Selections for this match will also be vital. The below team sheet shows plenty of experience and many trusted combinations. Young Adam Hastings is showing much promise, in between the strength of Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russel. A win would round off their season well, and to achieve that all 23 will need to play ‘as one’ and to be both brave and adventurous.

Facing them across the field are Los Pumas. One of the more exciting and enthusiastic teams, yet wins are hard to come by. In 2018, two results in The Rugby Championship highlighted their prospects – but more losses over this end of year tour, it has removed some of the excitement which Mario Ledesma’s appointment had created.

The coach knows that all his team needs to perform. From the enigmatic Agustin Creevy, but also from their key driver; Nicolas Sanchez. With support from winger Ramira Moyano (see below image) and Pablo Matera – a real effort from numbers one to 23, is the only solution to a string of defeats.

Change that habit, improving their consistency and regaining the voice of their fans, will go a long way to sending Argentina closer to their objectives; today, and in 10 months in Japan.

Each side has higher aspirations. Both want to be in the top three sides in World Rugby. That means wins now, and certainly wins early next year [Scotland in the Six Nations] and wins in July [Argentina in The Rugby Championship. Do that, and teams’ fans will be jumping for joy.

But only one team can win this Saturday.

It is a pressure-cooker scenario, but one that professional rugby applies to all sides. So no quarter can be given and a lot rides on the result in the Scotland v Argentina match.

Scotland v Argentina – Saturday November 24. Murrayfield


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