Player ratings: Argentina
An ill-disciplined and error-riddled Argentina started their World Cup campaign disastrously in Marseille, losing to an England side that had their full complement of players for only the opening few minutes of the match.
The Pumas went into the match probably as favourites following England’s poor August, and their chances increased significantly when Tom Curry was red carded in the opening minutes of the match. However, a high penalty count and a blunt attack meant they not only lost to England, but lost convincingly given the circumstances, as George Ford kicked all 27 points in a 27-10 win.
It was not a good day for Michael Cheika’s men, with few being able to hold their head high.
Here’s how the Argentina players rated:
15. Juan Cruz Mallia – 5
Went off early following Tom Curry’s yellow card tackle before coming back on, and had a varied performance under the high ball. Was not a game for outside backs really, which was expected.
14. Emiliano Boffelli – 6
Opened the scoring with a long range penalty, but his howitzer of a right boot was off target a few minutes later. Handled the aerial onslaught from England well, and looked the most comfortable of the Argentine back three handling bomb after bomb.
13. Lucio Cinti – 5
Failed to take a deft chip kick-off from Santiago Carreras in the first-half, although it was not the easiest of takes. Covered a sniping run from Alex Mitchell which could have put Jonny May in for a try. A quiet display, which after a pretty shambolic loss, means he comes out in credit compared to some of his teammates.
12. Santiago Chocobares – 6
Perfectly weighted 50:22 gave Argentina their best attacking platform of the first-half with a five metre lineout. Showed plenty of grit and physicality up against a Manu Tuilagi who was on song. A basic knock-on foiled a great attacking platform for his side in the second-half, but withheld some brutal hits from his opposite man.
11. Mateo Carreras – 4
Loose kick on the full when Argentina had space in the England back field which led to England drop-goal in what was a fairly uneventful first-half for him. Found himself put under pressure aerially, but did look lively on the few occasions he got ball in hand.
10. Santiago Carreras – 4
Yellow carded early on for a needless late tackle on opposite man Ford, although it did not prove too costly as the Pumas only conceded three points. Attempted a long-range drop goal of his own to rival Ford, but was well wide, which sums up how he was outplayed by his counterpart.
9. Gonzalo Bertranou – 4
Failed to put England’s back three under pressure with his kicking game and was outplayed by Mitchell in what was a game that needed to be controlled by halfbacks.
8. Juan Martin Gonzalez – 4
Struggled to assert himself in a very quiet first-half with ball in hand, only making one metre, but was industrious in defence. Was hooked with 20 minutes to go after conceding a penalty but can hardly be blamed as that was a quite a common occurrence.
7. Marcos Kremer – 6
Strong defensive display across the 80 in what was quite a turgid affair up front at times, and tried his best carrying but to little avail. Did not have a blemish on his disciplinary copybook, which was quite a feat in that match.
6. Pablo Matera – 6
Some standout moments for the former captain- both good and bad. Won a crucial turnover in the first-half when England were building some fluidity in their attack, but equally took Freddie Steward out in the air which set England up for their third drop-goal of the match. Argentina’s strongest carrier in the pack comfortably, and was held up over the line when the game was already lost. Offside penalty gave England their first points of the second-half, as the penalties started to mount up.
5. Tomas Lavanini – 5
Caught holding on when Argentina had a good attacking position in the first-half, but was generally solid, albeit not a typically dominant performance. Left the field before the game really started to unravel for the Pumas.
4. Matias Alemanno – 4
Knock on in his own half gave England a great attacking chance which they failed to capitalise on, but a quiet performance ended at half-time when he was replaced.
3. Francisco Gomez Kodela – 4
Did not have the bluster of his front-row teammates, but equally was not as error-prone.
2. Julian Montoya (c) – 5
Was caught holding on when his side were hammering England’s line, but equally got through a heap of tackles. Lineout was almost perfect but faltered in the second-half as he ultimately embodied his side’s implosion, unfortunately leading the charge as the Pumas completely lost their discipline.
1. Thomas Gallo – 5
A mixed bag from Gallo. Came close to scoring the first try of the match, but fell short before gifting England a needless penalty when Argentina would have wanted to be camped in their half. Little did he know that he would come closest to scoring for his side that half. Carried hard through the heart of England’s defence nevertheless, but had the ball ripped from his hands on occasion, which no prop wants to experience. Gave away the first scrum penalty of the match as England’s scrum began to gain ascendency. Returned to the field with renewed energy.
16. Agustin Creevy – 5
Entered the fray once the rot had already set in, and like the rest of the bench failed to make any impact.
17. Joel Sclavi – 2
Conceded a penalty within moments of coming on and then went off injured.
18. Eduardo Bello – 5
Helped settle the Pumas’ scrum, but England had the upper hand up front by the time he joined the action for the final 30.
19. Guido Petti Pagadizabal – 5
Made an immediate impact with a break after taking the kick-off for the second-half, but was quiet thereafter.
20. Pedro Rubiolo – 4
Unfair to judge some of the of the substitutes’ performances as it must have felt like a hiding to nothing for some of them.
21. Rodrigo Bruni – 6
Scored Argentina’s only try of the match, although a consolation, which was a positive.
22. Lautaro Bazan Velez – 4
Very little action when he came on.
23. Matias Moroni – 4
Covered for Mallia early on, but equally did not see a lot of action.
By Josh Raisey @RugbyPass