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Scots down Pumas, set for All Blacks

Scotland rugby coach Vern Cotter is determined to keep his players’ feet planted firmly on the ground in the wake of their impressive 41-31 victory against Argentina in their opening November Test at Murrayfield on Saturday.

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The Scots ran in five tries against a top-tier nation for the first time in seven years – since a 31-21 win against Ireland in August 2007 – but the looming visit of the All Blacks to Edinburgh next weekend ensured an absence of excessive euphoria in the aftermath of Cotter’s first home match.

“We’re not getting carried away,” said Cotter.

“We’re playing the best team in the world next week and there are certainly things to work on.”

A native New Zealander, Cotter joined Scotland in May after eight years in charge of Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14.

In that time he turned the Stade Marcel Michelin into a fortress, Clermont enjoying a 77 match unbeaten run there until their defeat to Castres in the French Top 14 play-off semi-finals in April.

On Saturday he guided Scotland to their first home win against Argentina since 1990 and their first win against any opposition at Murrayfield for twelve months – since a 42-17 victory against Japan in their opening November international last year.

What pleased Cotter the most was the manner in which his side recovered from conceding a second minute try to Pumas flanker Javier Ortega Desio.

They responded with tries from second row brothers Richie and Jonny Gray, wingers Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour and full back Stuart Hogg.

The concession of three tries in the final 10 minutes took a little of the gloss off what was a convincing victory against an Argentina side who looked a pale shadow of the team that beat Australia in the Rugby Championship in Mendoza last month.

“We arrived from the Rugby Championship in good form but today we did not play well,” acknowledged Argentina’s head coach Daniel Hourcade.

The Pumas face Italy in Genoa next Saturday, before finishing their tour with a Test against France in Paris a week later.

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw deservedly earned the man-of-the-match award, the Gloucester scrum-half having fashioned the first four tries and kicked 14 points, taking himself into third place behind Chris Paterson and Gavin Hastings in his country’s all-time scoring chart.

“From one to 15, the boys put their bodies on the line,” said Laidlaw.