Argentina beat Scotland to reach semifinals

The battle of the brothers swung decisively in Argentina’s favour at the Stade de France on Sunday as the Pumas charged into the World Cup semifinals for the first time.

The South Americans won a closely fought quarterfinal 19-13 and will play South Africa next Sunday for a place in the World Cup final.

The Pumas fielded the Contepomi twins, Felipe and Manuel, in the centres while Scotland looked to the Lamont brothers, Rory and Sean, at full-back and on the wing.

Both the Lamonts made edgy starts, spilling balls in their own half as Pumas flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez tested their mettle with huge up-and-unders.

The usually unerring Felipe Contepomi then made a hash of the first penalty kick of the game after the Scots were penalised following a line-out three yards out from their line.

A minute later Dan Parks put that effort to shame by opening the scores with a huge penalty from a yard inside Argentine territory.

Felipe Contepomi made amends for his earlier miss after 23 minutes when he levelled the scores by kicking a far more difficult penalty out following Nathan Hines’s high tackle on Hernandez.

With Argentina once again looking to keep the game tight and relying on their all-powerful pack and Scotland favouring the boot, there was little room for the kind of creativity that the Contepomis and Lamonts are known for.

Instead, Felipe Contepomi stepped forward again to give the Pumas a 6-3 lead after 29 minutes with another penalty.

Four minutes later there was disaster for Sean Lamont.

He failed to gather the ball inches short of his line after Gonzalo Longo had blocked Parks’s attempted clearance, allowing the number eight to score the easiest of tries. Contepomi converted to put the Pumas 13-3 ahead.

Scotland stayed in touch with another penalty from Chris Paterson, making it 13-6 at the break, but there was too much power and pace in the Argentine pack for the lighter Scots to cope with in the second period.

Knowing that they had to play a wider game to break the Pumas’ stranglehold on the match, both Lamonts were called into action with barging runs that gained some yardage but which were countered before causing any real threat.

A breakaway try in the 62nd minute, however, by replacement scrumhalf Chris Cusiter, converted from near the touchline by Paterson, gave the Scots renewed hope as they edged to within striking distance of the Pumas at 19-13

And with Scotland in full attacking mode, it was Sean Lamont who came agonisingly close to snatching what could have been a dramatic winner when he just failed to latch on to Parks’s diagonal kick as the clock ticked down.—AFP

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