England down Argentina in snorefest

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 14:35
Large nathan hughes v argentina .

MATCH REPORT: England opened their November Test Series with a win, but it was not the kind of performance expected from a side, who occupies the second spot on the World Rugby Rankings.

It seems Owen Farrell's absence played a huge part, however, England's slow poison tactic made sure they outscore Argentina two tries to one.

Furthermore, Argentina's reliance on their scrum and the lack of composure handed England the control of the match.

This was England's fourth successive victory against their 2019 World Cup pool opponents in just over a year, including a 2-0 series triumph in Argentina in June.

But they will surely need to go up a gear against Australia a week on Saturday.

For the Pumas, defeat continued a miserable 2017 that has seen them record just one victory in 10 Tests - against Georgia in June.

England, in an unfamiliar black change kit at a rainy Twickenham, had a chance to take the lead in the second minute.

But flyhalf Ford, taking over kicking duties in Farrell's absence, saw a 35-metre penalty attempt hit the right post.

He was twice on target from closer range, however, after Argentina conceded two needless ruck penalties.

Ford's successful goal-kicks came to either side of wing Emiliano Boffelli's eighth-minute effort for the Pumas.

Both sides failed to build momentum and the only real action occurred when fullback Joaquín Tuculet was yellow carded in the 22nd minute for taking out England fullback Mike Brown in mid-air as the pair contested a high ball.

It seemed a harsh decision but South African referee Marius van der Westhuizen ruled Tuculet was "not in a  realistic position" to attempt a catch and, after studying video replays, produced a yellow card.

Meanwhile Brown - who has a history of concussion injuries - was replaced by Rokoduguni after appearing to land awkwardly on his head.

Soon afterwards, with Argentina, a man down, England scored the only try of the opening period when Ford's expertly-judged cut-out pass found Hughes out wide on the right, with the No.8 charging over from close range for his first Test try.

Ford could not convert but England led 11-3.

Argentina flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez preferred to Nicolas Sanchez by coach Daniel Hourcade, had two chances to close the gap shortly before the half-hour mark.

But from out left on the 22 he has off target with a penalty and then, from a similar distance, on the right, the veteran playmaker made a horrible mess of another penalty chance, pulling the ball far across the face of the posts.

Instead, it was England who scored next.

Ford's clever chip ahead was regathered by half-back partner Ben Youngs, who in turn passed to Slade.

The Exeter midfielder, however, was tackled without the ball and Ford made no mistake with a simple penalty six minutes before half-time.

Early in the second half, England threatened on the counter-attack only for passes from Slade and Anthony Watson to go astray.

But Argentina were unable to reduce the deficit when Boffelli was well wide with a long-range penalty shortly before the hour mark.

With the Pumas still 11 points down, they ran a kickable penalty only for England to hold up the ensuing maul.

Both teams brought on replacements in the final quarter, with Sanchez coming on for Hernandez in the 64th minute only to miss a kickable penalty soon afterwards.

England then extended their lead in the 66th minute when substitute back Alex Lozowski made a surging break deep into Argentina's 22. The ball was recycled and Slade's long pass put Rokoduguni in at the right corner.

After checking for a forward pass, van der Westhuizen awarded the try and Ford landed a tough conversion to make it 21-3.

Argentina had the last word, though, when sustained pressure led to a try for Sanchez from a 30-phase move two minutes from time.

But it was too little too late for the Pumas, who saw Sanchez's conversion attempt rebound off the post.

Man of the match: Impressive performances were few and far between. England George Ford produces a was noteworthy display. However, our nod goes to England Nathan Hughes. The No.8 had 7 line breaks after just 40 minutes of play and was influential even well before his try in the 23rd minute.  

Villain of the match: It was the static pace of the game too many stops and starts.

Moment of the match: Ford's long pass to Nathan Hughes which set up the first try in the 23rd minute.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries:
Hughes, Rokoduguni
Con:  Ford
Pens: Ford 3

For Argentina:
Try:
Sánchez
Pen: Boffelli

Yellow card: Joaquín Tuculet (Argentina, 21 - Dangerous tackle)

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola.   
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Danny Care, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Juan Martín Hernandez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Tomás Lezana, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Santiago García Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Nicolás Sánchez, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Dan Jones (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Source: Agence France-Presse