Cheika’s Argentina dominates Scotland 26 to 18

Argentina, for their first outing under Australian coach Michael Cheika, showed a rather attractive face to overpower Scotland 26-18 (half-time 18-6) on Saturday in San Salvador de Jujuy (northwest) for the first of a series of three test matches.

In a deleted game, the Pumas, who played their first game at home for almost three years after two seasons disrupted by the Covid, registered three tries by Jeronimo De la Fuente, Santiago Carreras and Gonzalo Bertranou, the Scots responding with two achievements by Mark Bennett and Rory Hutchinson.

Faced with the Scots who were playing without their key players Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell, the Argentinians found themselves handicapped by the last minute withdrawal of scrum half Tomas Cubelli, then the injury exit of opener and scorer Nicolas Sanchez (20th ), replaced by Santiago Carreras. They also left foot points en route, Emiliano Boffelli missing two conversions and a penalty.

But they had the initiative for most of the game, only being worried during a big Scottish quarter of an hour at the start of the second half, materialized by two tries, which momentarily brought the two teams back to level (18-18).

The rest of the time, the Pumas, aggressive on the ground, dynamic and showing an interesting alternation, gave the game a fairly high tempo, keeping the initiative throughout the first act, and depriving the Scots of the ball for long periods.

Attempts by La Fuente, after one of these long streaks, then by Carreras after a dazzling recovery from Juan Cruz Mallia, rewarded this domination.

Immediately after the Scottish jump in the second half, the Pumas reacted at the kick-off, with a try from Bertranou in a mouse hole (57th), giving his side an advantage which they allowed to keep without trembling, Boffelli even accentuating it with a penalty.

Argentina and Scotland will meet for two more test matches, on July 9 and 16.

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