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Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw is pleased his side kept their cool

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw thinks his side got their reward for refusing to panic against Argentina.

The scrappy Scots struggled to shake off the streetwise South Americans but eventually ground out a 19-16 win thanks to their captain's stoppage-time penalty.

It was sweet relief for the Gloucester scrum-half after he admitted letting Australia off the hook in last week's narrow 23-22 defeat when he struck the post with a conversion.

The 31-year-old feared history was repeating itself when he smashed the same upright with the scores locked at 16-16 and just two minutes remaining.

But having earlier seen his side cancel out Nicolas Sanchez's opening try with a quick-fire Sean Maitland touchdown, the captain kept his nerve when he was given a second chance, knocking over the decisive kick with 82-and-a-half minutes on the clock.

Laidlaw, who kicked 14 points in total, said: "That post doesn't like me at the minute. I struck it lovely but it just stayed dead straight and hung out to the right.

"The boys were giving me stick for taking two goes to win it but I was pretty happy to see the second one go between the posts.

"The key was after they scored. We stood under the posts and said, 'Don't panic, we can score tries.'

"We hit straight back and scored then pegged them back straight away. Psychologically that was a huge blow to them.

"We were still annoyed from that Australia game last week so we were delighted to get on the right side of one today."

The Scots had put on a swashbuckling display against the Wallabies but they were nowhere near their slick best during the opening 40 minutes.

Amid cold and wet conditions in Edinburgh, they struggled to keep hold of the ball while their fresh-faced pack toiled against the wily Pumas pack.

But head coach Vern Cotter said: "It's nice to be able to come away with the win. We knew it was going to be an arm-wrestle but I thought the boys responded really well.

"It wasn't perfect by any means but what we saw was a lot grit and character. The guys got what they went for and there are a lot of positives to come out of the game.

"We dominated territory in the first half, which I thought was good. We had opportunities and perhaps didn't make the most of them but it wasn't going to be an open game.

"Argentina came to squeeze us and get the win that way. We defended well and the win was a reflection of our determination.

"What I really liked was that they scored a try and we scored one ourselves straight back. That was important. I'm very proud of the way the guys went about their business."

Laidlaw added: "They way the game was going we knew it would be tight and won by a penalty here or there.

"We had to adapt but did that extremely well. The forwards rolled their sleeves up and kept taking the game to them. They beat up the Argentines in a sense and that allowed us to get field position and get the late penalty.

"It was a slippy old ball out there. In the first half we weren't getting to rucks quickly enough and when we did the ball presentation was pretty loose. We coughed up ball in their half a few times and released the pressure valve.

"It was a scrappy affair but turned things around in the last 20 minutes."

The win could yet prove vital for Scotland's World Cup hopes as they now climb above the South Americans to eighth place in the World Rugby rankings.

The draw for Japan 2019 will be made next May and if Scotland can maintain their new position they should avoid having to take on two major nations in the opening pool phase.

Asked if it was important Scotland maintain their new position, Laidlaw replied: "Definitely. We've got one game left in the series and we want to go win next week against a Georgian side that are hugely physical."


From Belfast Telegraph