Sport at the highest level is about fine lines, the one percenters as coaches like to say, and despite an heroic effort in what has probably been the most thrilling encounter of the Rugby World Cup so far, Scotland lost out not only by one point, but possibly also because of those one percenters.
Having secured the lead in dreadful conditions in a tight encounter, which Scotland was edging, they let Argentina back in the game when they missed tackles and Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino crossed for a try which when converted gave Argentina the lead, with the clock showing seven minutes left.
Prior to this try many were surprised that Scotland coach Andy Robinson substituted young fly half Ruaridh Jackson who was having an outstanding game and brought on Dan Parks. Why is it rugby coaches feel they must empty their benches?
Scotland had a chance to pull the game out of the fire, and this is where the one percents come in. Amorosino could so quickly have turned from hero to zero. He followed his try with a grievous error, which gave Scotland hope of retrieving the match. He dropped a kick into touch a metre from his goal line in the 79th minute, allowing Scotland to regain possession from an attacking lineout.
Scotland manoeuvred themselves into a good field position, and Parks’ opted to attempt a dropped goal, which skewed wide of the posts, rather than possibly keeping possession and gaining a better position.
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi admitted post game that he had crept offside to put pressure on Parks’ drop goal attempt, the referee did not spot it and Argentina’s victory means that they now have the better chance of progressing to the quarter finals.
Contepomi was outstanding after the game paying credit to the Scots, admitting that his team was lucky to win, but stating that “They were probably better than us, but rugby is an 80-minute game. We were probably better than England, but there were 30 seconds in that match when we lost it.”
That last comment should give the Scots heart as if they can beat England, which one would not bet against now, they could still progress. It will probably come back to those one percenters again!