Scotland v Argentina: Vern Cotter eyes performance not rankings

Scotland coach Vern Cotter
Vern Cotter says his side must improve from last weekend
Autumn international: Scotland v Argentina
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Sat, 19 November Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, Radio Scotland, Radio 5 live sports extra & online

Vern Cotter says Scotland's performance against Argentina on Saturday is the focus rather than leapfrogging his side's visitors in the world rankings.

A victory would be timely given the draw for the Japan 2019 World Cup will be made in May.

"We're aware that there are rankings," said the head coach.

"We looked at the performance against Australia and the parts that we would like to improve on. If we do that, it's just going to take care of itself."

Scotland lie ninth in the rankings, one place below Argentina, who have slipped from sixth after their 24-20 defeat by Wales.

Cotter's side narrowly missed the chance to boost their own standing last weekend when they were beaten 23-22 by the third-ranked Wallabies at Murrayfield.

"We need to lift our game," he said. "I thought it was a good performance, but we can do better and we need to do better.

"That's been the key to this week and the players have responded. They were disappointed.

"We played with confidence against Australia for most of the game and it came down to not much.

"We just need a couple of percent lift on a few things and hopefully we can get what we want."

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg in action
Scotland led until late on against the Wallabies

Cotter has urged his players to carry the lessons of their late loss to Australia into the match against Argentina.

The coaches and squad held a frank debrief on Monday and, while Cotter believes Argentina will present a different challenge to his team, he wants to see signs of progress.

"There were things that we focused on and the players are determined to do better," Cotter said.

"Nobody likes losing, but the honesty within the group, first thing on Monday, was a down-to-earth analysis of what did we actually contribute to that.

"It was a very close-cut thing, only one point, but we were pretty tough on ourselves that Monday.

"We don't want to contribute to the same extent against Argentina. We're looking at discipline, decision-making close to the line, not precipitating things, taking time, waiting for structure to be in place and power up on them.

"I thought defensively we did well and we want to improve our set-piece defence. Australia scored two tries from set-pieces last weekend.

"There will be determination from the players to put in a performance.

"We know that Argentina are very dangerous with the ball, so we'd like to keep it away from them at times for as long as we can."

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