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Finn Russell: Scotland learned lessons from Australia to beat Argentina

Published 21/11/2016

Finn Russell, right, and Greig Laidlaw, left, could afford to laugh after Scotland's late win
Finn Russell, right, and Greig Laidlaw, left, could afford to laugh after Scotland's late win

Scotland stand-off Finn Russell took great satisfaction in seeing his team learn from their narrow defeat to Australia and turn the tables against Argentina.

Now he aims to digest the difficulties they faced against an aggressive Pumas pack and find an added polish to their game against Georgia on Saturday.

Scotland lost 23-22 to Australia after James Foley's 76th-minute conversion put the visitors ahead for the first time but were celebrating at BT Murrayfield on Saturday when Greig Laidlaw's penalty sealed a 19-16 win with the last kick of the ball.

And Russell felt the victory was a reward for refusing to panic throughout an attritional contest.

The Glasgow fly-half said: "Argentina did really well to mess up our attack and disrupt our ball. A few times they were trying to get into our boys' heads by holding on and things like that. If one person was in we would all back him up but the last 10 to 15 minutes showed the composure we have.

"And I think we learned a lot from last week against Australia, just losing that kind of narrow game. I said last week that everyone will learn from it and we did.

"We went into the game knowing it was probably going to come down to a narrow finish. We all had an idea of how it was going to end up and what we were going to have to do. For me it was positive seeing that we had learned from last week and put it into this week's game."

Russell missed two drop-kick attempts to win it but he retained his belief.

"The way the team played in the last 10 minutes, we knew ourselves that we were going to have to get that penalty and get three points to go ahead," he said.

"We had a few chances including the drop-kicks, but even when things went against us, when they scored their try, no-one got too frustrated. When the attack wasn't going that well, it could have been an easy game for us to get frustrated and over-try things, but we just kept our composure and built phases and it won us the game.

"Previously Scotland could have lost that game but we showed composure throughout the game, and it was a bit wet so we played a bit more of a territorial game plan. In the last couple of minutes, holding on to the ball and winning the scrum was great."

Laidlaw also just missed a previous penalty attempt and Russell could afford to joke about the near misses.

"I was having a laugh with Greig after the game," the 24-year-old said. "He hit the post and I missed two drop-kicks, so he kind of saved both of us with that kick.

"Looking back over the game there were other chances and I should have scored one of those drop-kicks, but I know Greig was going to kick that last penalty. Keep the crowd on their toes."

Scotland next face an improving Georgia side at Rugby Park and Russell is determined to see more progress.

"From watching us against Argentina they will come at our breakdown and try and disrupt us there," he said. "They will try and force errors like Argentina did. It will be a similar sort of game physically and we need to get our skills better and hold on to the ball.

"We will learn a lot from Argentina. In the first half we struggled to get four or five phases together. We can change it up a bit to try and build phases and get us into the game.

"It was stop-start in the first half and we will learn from that. If it gets to that situation at the weekend the boys will know what to do.

"It was my 21st cap and every game I am still learning and progressing and trying to help the team go forward."

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