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Scotland run in four tries to level series against Argentina
The series will be decided next Saturday.
Scotland levelled their three-match Test series against Argentina with a commanding 29-6 victory in Salta.
Hamish Watson, Mark Bennett, Matt Fagerson and Sam Johnson scored tries as Gregor Townsend’s side bounced back from their first Test defeat in style.
Blair Kinghorn and Ross Thompson contributed nine points with the boot as a home crowd that had celebrated Independence Day in Argentina before kick-off and were in party mood fell silent.
Scotland had trailed 6-3 before Watson gave them a narrow advantage three minutes before the break.
But Townsend’s side took control in the third quarter of the match, scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half to tie the series at 1-1.
Watson won his 50th cap as Scotland made five changes from the side beaten 26-18 by Los Pumas seven days earlier.
Dave Cherry, Sam Skinner and Rory Darge returned to the pack and scrum-half Ben White made his first start after getting the nod over Ali Price.
Scotland made a fast start on a blisteringly hot afternoon and Kinghorn landed a simple fourth-minute penalty.
But Edinburgh full-back Emiliano Boffelli levelled the scores before the contest descended into an arm wrestle with both sides guilty of careless handling errors.
Argentina failed to take advantage of Santiago Carreras scything through before Scotland squandered a similar opportunity.
Darcy Graham set up a thrilling attack by collecting a high ball under pressure, but his fellow wing Duhan van der Merwe was forced into touch with the Argentina defence at full stretch.
Carreras’ skills – be it with ball in hand or kicking around the fringes – continued to cause problems, and White’s high tackle on Rodrigo Bruni gave Boffelli an easy penalty.
Scotland, however, seized the lead again just before the break after they had chosen to ignore a straightforward three points in front of the posts and go for the corner.
Argentina were unable to defend a driving line-out and Watson marked his milestone appearance by burrowing over for his seventh Test try.
Scotland extended their lead within two minutes of the restart after Darge and Pierre Schoeman smashed holes in the home defence.
White set up Bennett, who cut an excellent line to score his second try in as many weeks, and Kinghorn converted for a 15-6 lead.
Guido Petti appeared to give Argentina hope when storming over, but the score was disallowed for a forward pass from winger Juan Imhoff earlier in the move.
Argentina had a mountain to climb after Boffelli was shown a yellow card after 52 minutes for killing the ball.
Scotland took full advantage as Fagerson barrelled over for his first Test try and replacement Thompson added the extras.
Los Pumas’ misery continued when Carreras seemed certain to score but lost the ball under pressure from Darge.
Scotland put the seal on victory when Johnson charged onto Price’s pass and Thompson converted.
The series will now be decided in next Saturday’s third game in Santiago del Estero.