DEJECTED Scotland coach Andy Robinson was left to rue the “30 seconds of madness” which saw Argentina snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and leave his side’s World Cup hopes in tatters.
Scotland led by six points with seven minutes remaining but a comedy of errors, which started with a failure to collect the restart following Dan Parks’ drop goal and culminated in Lucas Gonazalez’s converted try, saw them slip to an agonising defeat.
To rub additional salt into the wounds Parks then missed a late drop goal opportunity to clinch victory, and his failure to do so now means Scotland must beat England in Auckland on Saturday to retain any hope of qualifying for the last eight.
“Thirty seconds of madness has really cost us,” said former England head coach Robinson. “We lost the game of rugby. We got to 12-6 and I felt we were in control of the game.
“The reason why we lost this game was just a moment of dropping off concentration. That team is grieving in the dressing room. It really is. It felt it got into an outstanding position.”
Parks’ late miss was particularly hard to take as it appeared Argentina gambled by straying offside. The penalty, however, was not forthcoming and Robinson admitted referee Wayne Barnes’ error added to the sense of dissatisfaction.
He added: “In all sport there’s lots of ifs and buts. He [Barnes] didn’t give the call when we wanted it to be given. We’re disappointed that he didn’t, but that’s sport.”
Chris Paterson and Ruaridh Jackson kicked a penalty apiece as Scotland took a 6-3 half-time lead after Felipe Contepomi had put Argentina in front.
Contepomi levelled with a 63rd-minute penalty, but Jackson stroked over a drop goal two minutes later and Parks added his own three-pointer eight minutes from time, which pre-empted Scotland’s implosion,
“You’ve got to take your hat off to Argentina, to find a way of being able to win a game when in that second half I thought they were outplayed,” said Robinson. “They were able to find an answer, which is disappointing from our side, but their never-say-die attitude got them through.”
POOL B | THE PERMUTATIONS
● If Scotland lose to England without a losing bonus point they are out of the World Cup.
● If Scotland lose to England with a losing bonus point and Argentina lose against Georgia, Scotland go through.
● If Scotland draw with England, they need Argentina to lose against Georgia.
● If Scotland and Argentina both win without a bonus point, it will come down to points difference between the three teams.
● If Scotland and Argentina win with bonus points, and England do not earn a losing bonus point, England are out