Scotland 52-29 Argentina: Finn Russell to the fore as Marcos Kremer red carded for Pumas
Scotland tries for Darcy Graham (three), Sione Tuipulotu (two), Duhan van der Merwe, Cameron Redpath, Stuart Hogg; Argentina lose Marcos Kremer to red card and Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Thomas Gallo to yellows; Gregor Townsend says Finn Russell now 'in possession' of No 10 shirt
Last Updated: 19/11/22 8:29pm
Scotland registered a much-needed 52-29 Autumn Nations Series victory over an Argentina side which was reduced to 12 men for a time, shown a first-half red card to Marcos Kremer and three further yellow cards.
Finn Russell was to the fore in a helter-skelter clash that saw five first-half tries, plus back-row Kremer's red card, as Scotland scored three through centre Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham, and the Pumas scored through centre Jeronimo de la Fuente and lock Matias Alemanno.
Scotland 52-29 Argentina - Score summary
Scotland - Tries: Tuipulotu (11), Van der Merwe (25), Graham (28, 42, 77), Redpath (68), Hogg (74). Cons: Russell (12, 26. 69, 75.)
Argentina - Tries: De la Fuente (16), Alemanno (39), Boffelli (52), Ruiz (80+7). Cons: Boffelli (39, 53). Pens: Boffelli (2), Sanchez (80+8). Red card: Kremer (24)
Darcy and Tuipulotu each scored their second tries in the second period, either side of Argentina being reduced to 12 men after sin-binnings to second row pair Alemanno (dangerous ruck clearout) and Tomas Lavanini (cynical maul collapse), and an improbable Emiliano Boffelli try on the break.
Pumas prop Thomas Gallo and Scotland back-row and skipper Jamie Ritchie were then both sin-binned past the hour mark after an almighty scuffle between the sides, leaving things 14 vs 13.
Cameron Redpath, Stuart Hogg and Graham scored tries in the time that remained, however, as Russell continued to conjure up try assists en route to victory.
Australia-born back-row Jack Dempsey (holder of 14 Wallabies Test caps) made his first start for Scotland, having undergone the new three-year stand-down period to defect. Openside Hamish Watson was ruled out due to concussion, with lock Richie Gray suspended and prop Rory Sutherland (knee) also out. Jonny Gray replaced his brother in the second row.
For Argentina, hooker Julian Montoya returned to captain the side in one of four changes from defeat to Wales. Tighthead Eduardo Bello came in for Francisco Gomez Kodela, while Matias Orlando replaced Matias Moroni at outside-centre. Bautista Delguy took over from Mateo Carreras on the wing. Experienced playmaker Nicolas Sanchez returned to the bench.
The hosts got off to a bad start when they conceded a penalty within 20 seconds, after Jonny Gray entered the first ruck of the match illegally. Edinburgh wing Boffelli duly put the first points on the board for Argentina when he sent his kick between the posts.
Scotland responded with a brilliant try in the 11th minute, when Tuipulotu received a perfectly-timed offload from Russell and darted his way beyond a cluster of Pumas to score. Russell converted.
The home support were silenced five minutes later, however, when De La Fuente bounded over on the left despite the close attentions of Ali Price. Boffelli was wide with his conversion attempt.
Argentina's hopes of a result were dealt a major blow in the 24th minute when they were reduced to 14 men after back-rower Kremer was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Ritchie following a TMO review.
Scotland made the extra man count almost immediately as Russell offloaded to Van Der Merwe just in front of the line and the wing juggled the ball between his hands before forcing it down in the 25th minute. Russell was successful with the conversion.
Just three minutes later, the Scots scored again when Graham bolted his way over on the right after an excellent flowing move, with Russell the architect in chief - but this time Russell's kick was inaccurate.
Argentina refused to capitulate and in the last action of the half, Alemanno barged his way over to score following a sustained period of pressure in front of the Scottish line. Boffelli converted to ensure the Scots went in only 19-15 ahead at the interval.
Scotland reasserted their authority just a minute into the second half, however, when Graham was released on the right following good play by Russell and Hogg. Russell hooked his kick wide of the posts.
Gregor Townsend's side - at this point leading 24-15 - were presented with a great opportunity to turn the screw on their opponents going into the closing half-hour when the Pumas were temporarily reduced to 12 men after Alemanno and Lavanini were both sent to the sin-bin within a minute of each other.
Incredibly, despite having three men less than their hosts, Argentina scored a breakaway try when Boffelli raced beneath the posts in the 52nd minute and added the extras himself.
Three minutes later, Tuipulotu went over on the right for his second try of the afternoon, with Russell kicking the conversion.
Almost as soon as Argentina had welcomed their two players back from the sin-bin, a mass brawl erupted just after the hour mark which resulted in Scotland captain Ritchie and Pumas prop Gallo being yellow-carded.
The Scots eventually started to pull away from their bedraggled visitors in the closing 11 minutes when Redpath, Hogg and Graham all helped themselves to tries, with Russell converting all three.
Tuipulotu was sin-binned right at the death, before Argentina replacement Ignacio Ruiz scored a try - converted by Nicolas Sanchez - in the last action of an eventful match featuring 12 tries and six cards.
Townsend: Russell's passing 'up there with best in world'
Scotland coach Townsend admitted after the win that Russell is now the man "in possession" of the number 10 jersey going into the Six Nations after his magnificent display.
The Racing 92 stand-off was controversially omitted from the initial squad named last month for the autumn series, with Townsend raising concerns about his "form and consistency" at club level.
However, on the back of impressive form at club level and after an injury to Adam Hastings, Russell was handed a recall against New Zealand last weekend and, after impressing against the All Blacks, the 30-year-old's all-action display against the Pumas has seen him firmly re-establish himself as Scotland's main man at number 10.
"Yes, he's now the man in possession," Townsend said. "Finn's played really well the last two weeks and it will take something (special) from Blair [Kinghorn] and Adam to change that."
Townsend added: "He was very good. There are parts to his game that maybe don't get talked about a huge amount.
"I said to him in the changing room he had three tackles in a row in the first half, so he showed his competitiveness there.
"He's got a very good carrying game and his offloads created really good line-breaks.
"His little kick-through in the second half was the right thing to do and created a try for Cam Redpath. His passing skills are up there with the best in the world.
"Maybe we expect those great passes, but they led to some really good opportunities. It was a very good display."
Townsend was pleased to see his team end their autumn series with a high-scoring win over the Pumas after an unconvincing victory over Fiji was sandwiched by agonising defeats at the hands of Australia and New Zealand.
"We would have taken that before the match," the Scotland coach said of the scoreline. "When they scored right before half-time we knew it was going to be a tricky second half, but I'm delighted with the way the players adapted to certain situations.
"What we did in attack and defence had a big effect on Argentina and I loved the energy in the last 10 minutes."
Gregor Townsend's Scotland have now completed their autumn international schedule for 2022, having lost to Australia and New Zealand, and beaten Fiji and Argentina from their four fixtures.
Attentions next turn to the 2023 Six Nations, when Scotland kick-off away to England at Twickenham on Saturday, February 4.
Scotland's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, October 29||Scotland 15-16 Australia||5.30pm|
|Saturday, November 5||Scotland 28-12 Fiji||1pm|
|Sunday, November 13||Scotland 23-31 New Zealand||2.15pm|
|Saturday, November 19||Scotland 52-29 Argentina||3.15pm|
Like Scotland, Michael Cheika's Argentina have completed their autumn international schedule for 2022, having beaten England at Twickenham, but lost to Wales and Scotland from their three fixtures.
Argentina's Autumn Internationals
|Sunday, November 6||England 29-30 Argentina||2.15pm|
|Saturday, November 12||Wales 20-13 Argentina||5.30pm|
|Saturday, November 19||Scotland 52-29 Argentina||3.15pm|