Argentina v Scotland, RWC2011, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, September 2011
I only bought tickets to this game a few days earlier, and roped some mates in. This match was originally scheduled to be played in Christchurch, but had to be moved because of the earthquakes. We went along knowing that the Scots and Pumas are probably pretty evenly matched, but given they both needed maximum points from this game to secure progression to the knockout stages, we were expecting the game to by a little looser, or more expansive. We were happily proven wrong when a game of Test Match rugby invaded the pitch. The Cake Tin was nowhere near full for this match, but the screaming Tartan Army and the insanely vocal (and pogo-ing) Pumas fans crammed together and created an atmosphere equal to 40,000 punters. I think it also raised the temperature in there a degrees or two which was much appreciated. Scotland? Well, I just don’t get them. It must be so frustrating for their fans. I know they have very small player numbers and few clubs domestically to select from, but they have some class players, and some enormous athletes ... yet it just looks so rudderless and pedestrian. Their big, rugged and mobile pack can get good ball for the backs, but then it just seems to go wrong? Now they have installed Vern Cotter as coach, I hope to see this rectified. Argentina can and did rumble it up as well. The stats this game was battled out in the middle portion of the park. The Pumas really only went wide at the end when they had to ... and that finish on Lucas Gonzalo Amorosino’s try was a beauty! I think it still remains one of the better tries in the tournament. He escaped two tackles and weaved away from three other Scottish defenders, with no room outside him to score a five pointer that sent the Pumas fans into raptures. Clearly the wet and cold conditions meant the game was going to be tight, but I felt it never really got going, not until the end anyway - it was like they were constantly feeling each other out at about 90% intensity, and neither could break the other’s defensive line. Cat and mouse maybe? There almost seemed to be a capitulation by Scotland that they were not going to cross Argentina’s line ... especially when Parks opted for (and missed) a drop goal attempt late in the game when he had numbers out to his left. The result meant Argentina would follow England though to the knockout stages, and end up in the quarter final against the All Blacks. This, and the semifinal finish in RWC2007 meant that in 2012 Argentina finally got their deserved spot at the Tier 1 table, when they were welcomed into SANZAR’s expanded Southern Hemisphere competition - The Rugby Championship.