Watson helps Scotland level Pumas series on 50th Test

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Hamish Watson of Scotland. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Hamish Watson of Scotland. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Scotland's Hamish Watson celebrated his 50th Test appearance with a try as Scotland levelled the three-match series against Argentina with a 29-6 win in Salta on Saturday.

Flanker Watson, 30, bundled over just before the break on the host country's Independence Day as the away side bounced back from defeat in San Salvador de Jujuy last weekend.

"It was a cool experience to get my 50th cap. I've loved every cap for Scotland. It's the biggest honour I can have as a rugby player," Watson told Sky Sports.

"We bonded well this week, we knew it was a sort of semi-final this week and we have to make sure it doesn't get wasted next week," he added.

Pumas head coach Michael Cheika was forced into four changes from last weekend's first Test win as he changed his half-back partnership giving starts to Gonzalo Bertranou and Santiago Carreras.

Scotland fly-half Blair Kinghorn and Pumas full-back Emiliano Boffelli traded penalty goals to make it 3-3 after 10 minutes in glorious sunshine in the north-western city in the foothills of the Andes mountain range.

The closest either side got to crossing the whitewash within the opening half an hour was as Duhan van der Merwe found space on the left wing but was bundled into touch five metres from the home tryline.

Boffelli, who plays for Scottish side Edinburgh, then slotted a second penalty goal to give his side a 6-3 lead with six minutes left of the first half.

Townsend's men then returned into Argentina territory and British and Irish Lions back-rower Watson enjoyed his half century of internationals with a try from a pick and go.

Boffelli's club team-mate Kinghorn, standing in for the rested Finn Russell, missed the simple conversion as the score stayed 8-6 at the break for the visitors.

Midfield magic

Gregor Townsend's tourists continued their territorial advantage almost immediately after the interval as centre Mark Bennett powered over after picking short hard line from a Ben White pass.

Argentina were denied a chance to cut the lead after 48 minutes as the video referee saw a forward pass in the build-up to Guido Petti's cancelled out effort.

Despite debutant Kyle Rowe leaving the field with a serious looking injury Scotland extended their advantage as No. 8 Matt Fagerson crashed over from short range for his maiden Test try.

Rowe's replacement Ross Thompson added the extras to make it 22-8 with 25 minutes to play.

Boffelli was shown a yellow card in the build-up to Fagerson's effort before centre Sam Johnson followed his midfield partner Bennett by crashing over.

Johnson slotted the conversion to make it 29-6 with a quarter of an hour remaining to guarantee a decider next weekend in Santiago del Estero.

Despite three entries into Scotland's 22 inside the final 10 minutes the Pumas were unable to cross the visitors' line and the series will be decided in seven days' time at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciuadades.

"We need to be more determined on our goal-line. When we are in their 22 we were not able to score, a few forward passes a knock-on in-goal," Pumas hooker Julian Montoya told Sky Sports.

"We have lots of things to improve on, we are going to work on them for the next game," he added.

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