Preview: England v Argentina

Fri, 08 Nov 2013 07:39
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England will be out to make it two southern hemisphere scalps in a row when they take on Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.

England will be out to make it two southern hemisphere scalps in a row when they take on Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.

After securing a morale-boosting win over the Wallabies last week Stuart Lancaster's team turn their attention to a Pumas side playing their first game under new coach Daniel Hourcade.

Argentina were not able to win a single game in the Rugby Championship, so they will be keen to turn their fortunes around at Twickenham against England.

The home side have a completely different front row from the one that did duty against Australia, and there is no doubt that Argentina will target the scrums which are a traditional strength of theirs.

Having beaten the Pumas twice on their home turf in June England will be quite confident heading into this clash, although they know that they can still improve on their performance against Australia last week.

Flyhalf Owen Farrell battled for consistency off the kicking tee last week, so there will be some pressure on him to get that right, whilst their line-outs last week were also quite shaky.

Argentina are without injured skipper Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, but they will definitely not be short on passion which should make for a fierce tussle up front.

Players to watch:

For England: Fullback Mike Brown is in great form and could cause problems with his counter-attacking abilities and flyhalf Owen Farrell will want to bounce back from his erratic goal-kicking display against Australia. Captain Chris Robshaw will look to lead from the front and the Northampton pair of lock Courtney Lawes and hooker Dylan Hartley should also make a big impact.

For Argentina: Lucas González Amorosino can be a devastating runner when given space, especially if he is able to link up with the speedy Juan Imhoff. Centre Marcelo Bosch should make some big hits if England decide to take it wide. Captain Juan Manuel Leguizamón will be keen to make an impact but the tone will be set by the tight forward with lock Patricio Albacete and prop Marcos Ayerza likely to have a big say in the set-pieces.

Head to head: The duel between Mike Brown and Lucas González Amorosino should be thrilling as they both look to attack from the back. In midfield the showdown between Marcelo Bosch and Rugby League convert Joel Tomkins will be interesting but the major battles will come in the forwards. Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Billy Vuniploa will want to stamp their authority from the back of the scrum, and in the line-outs Courtney Lawes and Patricio Albacete will set the tone. In the scrums the inexperienced David Wilson will certainly have his work cut out for him up against Marcos Ayerza.

Recent results:
2013: England won 51-26 in Buenos Aires
2013: England won 32-2 in Salta
2011: England won 13-9 in Dunedin
2009: England won 16-9 in London
2009: Argentina won 24-22 in Salta
2009: England won 37-15 in Manchester
2006: Argentina won 25-18 in London
2002: England won 26-18 in Beunos Aires
2000: England won 19-0 in London
1997: Argentina won 33-13 in Beunos Aires

Prediction: Argentina will put up a stern fight, but we expect England to edge a victory at home by less than five points.


England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Alex Goode.

Argentina: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolás Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón (captain), 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Patricio Albacete, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Benjamín Macome, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi, 23 Santiago Cordero.

Date: Saturday, November 9
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off:14.30 (14.30 GMT)
Expected weather: Overcast with an 80% chance of rain, high of 5, wind 13 kph
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Craig Joubert (South Africa)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)