THE world keeps turning, so Scotland must now quickly move on from Sunday’s loss to the All Blacks and focus in on the next challenge looming over the horizon, which is an Argentina team against whom they suffered a series defeat in the summer and who gave England a bloody nose at Twickenham at the start of this Autumn Test Series.


However, head coach Gregor Townsend does not want his players to forget completely about what transpired last weekend. He hopes that they will use the pain and frustration at having let the biggest lead any Scottish team has ever had against the All Blacks slip through their fingers during the last 20 minutes of the match.


“We’re together with the players – you share with the players how you feel, and we felt enormous pride at the way they played,” he said. “What we did in both attack and defence … to have a 23-0 period against a quality side shows what we’re capable of.


“We’re capable of winning against New Zealand. I know the history more than anyone, and that was our opportunity. We’re not going to get it for another three or four years and that’s what will hurt.


“I’m sure there will be opportunities in the future but for this group of players and coaches, we probably won’t be there for that. So, this disappointment has to fuel the team. What we did has to motivate us to deliver a better performance next week.


“There was so much positivity around the atmosphere and the connection of our players and the crowd, with the things our wingers were doing in terms of kick-chase, running from deep and scoring tries. That’s huge positives for the motivation for next week.”


Six-day turnarounds are really tough in international rugby, especially if it is the final instalment of a four-match sequence played on consecutive weekends, as is the case for Scotland this weekend. So, as well as the challenge of trying to get the team in the right place psychologically to face the Pumas on Saturday, Townsend is also going to have to manage some pretty beaten-up bodies this week, which might lead to some tough decisions about leaving out players who will feel they have earned the right to keep their place in the side.


“You have to do less over the week, and assess what the bodies are like after tonight,” said the coach, speaking immediately after Sunday’s game. “We invest a lot of time, effort and money into recovery, so it will be sauna and pool access tonight, cryotherapy tomorrow, and the players drive it themselves.


“If it was just on form from this game a lot of players would get another chance next week, but the short turnaround will have an influence on selection.”


Townsend was already planning for a match-day squad selection which will not include flanker Hamish Watson and prop Rory Sutherland due to injuries picked up against New Zealand, while a further complicating factor is that Finn Russell’s partner, Emma Canning, is heavily pregnant meaning he could be called back to his Paris home at any moment.


“Suz [Sutherland] has got a knee injury that’ll be scanned tonight but I don’t think he’ll be available for next week,” revealed Townsend. “It is a similar injury to Adam Hastings’ last week, same situation.


“Hamish had a nasty head injury, so disappointed because it was such a brilliant tackle, but his head hit the hip of Jordie Barrett, and he’s definitely out next week.


“With Finn, I think the due date is the week after Argentina, but the midwives and the doctors have said it could be the week before, so we’ll have to wait and see. The timing could be great, early in the week and he’s fine, he told us he would be available next week.”


Inspired by Edinburgh winger Emiliano Boffelli, the Pumas beat England 29-30 at Twickenham a fortnight ago in the opening match of their Autumn campaign, but then lost 20-13 to Wales in Cardiff last weekend.


Scotland played the South Americans three times this summer, recovering from a disappointing 26-18 defeat in Jujuy to tie the series with a convincing 26-9 win in Salta, and they built a commanding 15-point lead early in the second half of deciding Test but succumbed to an agonising 34-31 loss which cost them the series.


After that summer capitulation, the surrendering of a nine-point lead during the final 25-minutes against Australia a fortnight ago, and Sunday’s late loss to the All Blacks, Townsend and his team are hell-bent on stopping a trend from becoming a habit..


“We’re as disappointed now as we were in Argentina and against Australia, so that has to be our next level of growth,” the coach concluded. “When we’re ahead, as we were in those three games, and we’ve played the better rugby, we have to close them out and win.”