06252017

England complete 2-0 series win in Argentina – report & highlights

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Watch: England beat Argentina 35-25 in thrilling Test

England wrapped up a 2-0 series win against Argentina with victory in another hugely entertaining Test.

England scored tries at either end of the first half, through Charlie Ewels and Piers Francis, with Joaquin Tuculet’s reply helping make it 18-13 to the visitors at the break.

Tries from Pablo Matera and Emiliano Boffelli, with Danny Care scoring for England, left it at 25-25.

But Will Collier’s try and George Ford’s drop-goal saw England home.

Like last weekend’s first Test, it was another match full of thrills, spills and tries – but whereas that went to the last play of the game, this time England finally subdued their hosts with 10 minutes to go.

Ewel’s try after six minutes set the tone for another see-saw encounter, but despite the errors and questionable discipline at times from his side, with 30 players unavailable for the tour either because of Lions duty or injury, England head coach Eddie Jones will surely be delighted to return from Argentina with the series win in the bag.

New faces take chance to shine

Three of England’s tries came from players with just a handful of caps between them.

Ewels, the 21-year-old Bath lock, is improving with every game in an England shirt and he combined sweetly with ‘older statesman’ Joe Launchbury – all of 26 – to power over for the first try.

England’s late problems in the line-out were one example of the errors they must cut out, but in general Ewels and the pack performed well in a highly pressurised environment.

Their scrum stood up well to a ferocious Argentina eight determined to impose themselves up front, and prop Collier, winning his second cap, came off the bench to add a try to his exertions in the scrummage.

A third try came from Northampton-bound Francis, the 26-year-old who has played much of his career so far in New Zealand and was making his first start, as he supported a wondrous break and pass from Mike Brown.

Francis was not error free, and his poor kick allowed Matera to get the Pumas back into the game – but his emergence and the game time given to Alex Lozowski and Henry Slade adds further to England’s midfield options as they look to build for the 2019 World Cup.

Old faces steady the ship

But it was not just the new boys who impressed.

In addition to his spectacular intervention for Ewel’s try, Brown also set up Care’s sensational counter-attacking score, and the scrum-half was a lively presence throughout the two Tests.

Up front, the old warhorse Chris Robshaw returned from injury to put in a typically wholehearted performance, scrapping for the ball on the floor one minute, tackling an Argentina runner the next.

And second row Launchbury – controversially overlooked for a Lions call-up on the basis of geography, apparently – demonstrated why he is so beloved of England fans with a relentless performance that should be beyond a man of his 6ft 6in, near 20-stone size.

Man of the match – Mike Brown

Mike Brown metres made graphic<!–

The Harlequins full-back looked back to his best and it was his counter-attacking prowess that arguably proved the difference.

Not always renowned for the quality of his passing, he produced two perfectly timed efforts to send first Francis and then Care striding over.

Is Eddie Jones happy?

England head coach Eddie Jones told BBC Two: “I think in each game we found a way to score points. This wasn’t a great performance from us but we were able to maximise any errors Argentina made and turned them into points.

“[We had] a couple of new guys making their Test debut. They will be better for that – they were playing against very experienced players. Some of the players struggled a little bit but they will be OK in the future.”

What about the pundits?

Ex-Lions and England centre Jeremy Guscott: “With all the big players missing – there were only five really experienced guys in these two Tests – Eddie Jones and his coaching staff have brought these guys in and they have done really well. In terms of strength in depth, England are in a great place.”

Ex-Lions and England hooker Brian Moore: “The experienced players stepped up. Mike Brown and George Ford – with the way they played you see what they achieved.

“The problem Argentina have is when their players produce flicks in Super Rugby you don’t get punished. But in Test rugby you do.”

Teams

England: Mike Brown; Marland Yarde, Henry Slade, Piers Francis, Jonny May; George Ford, Danny Care; Ellis Genge, Dylan Hartley, Harry Williams, Charlie Ewels, Joe Launchbury, Robshaw, Underhill, Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Matt Mullan Will Collier, Nick Isiekwe, Mark Wilson, Jack Maunder, Alex Lozowski, Denny Solomona

Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet; Ramiro Moyano, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Emiliano Boffelli; Nicolas Sanchez, Martín Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Javier Ortega Desio, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Enrique Pieretto, Agustín Creevy (capt), Lucas Noguera Paz.

Replacements: Julian Montoya, Santiago García Botta, Ramiro Herrera, Guido Petti, Tomas Lezana, Gonzalo Bertranou, Juan Martin Hernandez, Matias Moroni.

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