By Anthony Brown, PA
Gregor Townsend lamented a poor first-half performance after Scotland suffered a 26-18 defeat to Argentina in San Salvador de Jujuy.
The Scots failed to enter the hosts’ 22 in the opening 40 minutes and went in trailing 18-6 at the break.
They improved after the interval and got themselves level with tries from Mark Bennett and Rory Hutchinson but Argentina pulled away again to win the first of the three-Test series.
“I’m disappointed because we didn’t get going until the second half,” head coach Townsend told Sky Sports. “That was frustrating. We then got into a position where we believe we could have and should have kicked on, and we didn’t.
“Credit to Argentina, they won a restart and got a try from that and the game then slowed down in the last 20 minutes. We needed more to change the momentum in that last 20 minutes.”
The Scots face another two Tests against Argentina over the next two Saturdays, and Townsend knows they must start with more intensity if they are to turn the series around.
“We didn’t have much ball in the first half and we had to defend for a number of phases,” he said. “It was a stop-start game the whole way through with a lot of reset scrums, penalties or errors from both teams.
“Sometimes you’ve got to create your own momentum and you do that with accuracy. In the first half that wasn’t the case. The second half was a lot better but we just didn’t kick on in the final quarter.
“We’ve got to take our learnings from what we can do better and also from what Argentina brought today and how we can counter that next week.”
Despite the meek first-half showing, captain Grant Gilchrist feels Scotland showed enough to suggest they can get the better of the Pumas over the next two Tests.
“We were below our best in that first half,” said the skipper. “We had a few good defensive sets and hung in there but we didn’t control territory and possession and we were under the cosh for most of the first half.
“We showed what we can do at the start of the second half. At 18-18 I felt the momentum was with us. It’s a game we should have won from that point. We didn’t but I saw enough in that game (to believe) that we can bounce back next week.”