Rugby-Scotland expect hostile crowd and fired-up Pumas


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v France - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - February 26, 2022 Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend before the match Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Scotland expect a hostile crowd and a fired-up home team when they meet Argentina in San Salvador de Jujuy on Saturday in the first of three tests over the next month, coach Gregor Townsend said on Thursday.

It is the first home test for Los Pumas in more than 1,000 days since they lost to South Africa in Salta in 2019 and a return in front of their enthusiastic support will ensure a fired up home team, the Scottish coach added.

“It should be a big boost to them to be playing for their country in their country. They're always a very passionate international side, you see that in the way they sing their anthem and how they play the game,” Townsend told a virtual news conference.

“So I'm sure there'll be an emotional response, which usually comes in their ball carries and their defence.

“And that's going to be a really good test for us to play away from home against a team that is highly motivated. How we adjust to that and how we impose our game on them will be key.”

Asked if he expected a hostile crowd, Townsend said: “Yes, I think so. I think the way the Argentines support their rugby team is very similar to how they support the football team so that they're noisy.

“I remember being an assistant coach in Wellington in 2011 during the World Cup when we lost in the last few minutes against Argentina and while we're in the change room the Argentine fans are still jumping up and down in the stadium. We thought the stadium was going to cave in as the plaster was falling on us from the ceiling.”

Playing in a soccer stadium will also ensure a different feel, the Scotland coach added.

"The stands are very close to the field, a couple have fences all the way around, which just adds to different occasion and environment than you normally get playing rugby test matches."

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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