Talking points ahead of Scotland’s second Test with Argentina

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Scotland face Argentina in Salta in the second Test of their summer tour series on Saturday night.

Argentina triumphed 26-18 in the opener and Scotland need a win to keep the series alive ahead of the third Test.

Here are some key talking points ahead of the game.

Back row restored

Rory Darge
Rory Darge is back for Scotland (Nigel French/PA)

Flankers Hamish Watson and Rory Darge have both fully recovered from injuries to take their place in the Scotland pack. British & Irish Lion Watson, who will win his 50th cap, missed out with a shoulder injury last week while Glasgow forward Darge returned off the bench from the knee injury which threatened to end his impressive breakthrough season  prematurely. Gregor Townsend now has a fully-fit squad and the return of Watson in particular is a major boost given the absence of several experienced players from the touring squad.

Making the most of the ball

Townsend noted that the ball was in play for less time than any other game in his Scotland reign last weekend and feels his side will need to be more accurate when they can get their hands on it this time round. Scotland will also need to speed up the tempo after failing to pose any threat in the first half last time out. Two second-half tries showed they can get at the Pumas defence. Scotland will also look to force more errors to get more opportunities to build attacks. Despite the stop-start nature of last weekend’s game, there were only five penalties in the whole game.

Up from the off

Argentina
Argentina quickly showed their intentions (Brian Lawless/PA)

Townsend this week earmarked restarts as a key area of required improvement following the first leg. Argentina’s aerial threat caused Scotland problems at kicks from both teams and Scotland cannot afford to gift possession quickly when it might be at a premium.

Backs experiment continues

With the likes of Stuart Hogg, Chris Harris, Finn Russell and Adam Hastings absent, Scotland had an experimental look in their back division last weekend. Blair Kinghorn will get another chance at stand-off after a successful first season in the position with Edinburgh. He came under criticism for his performance in Jujuy but Townsend felt he responded well to a difficult first half and pointed to his consistency at club level. Rory Hutchinson will continue in Kinghorn’s former position, full-back, after making his first start there in a Scotland jersey with a try in the first Test. The Northampton player, normally a centre, will win his seventh cap.

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