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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 10 April, 2020


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A very, very good morning to all you lovers of Saturday morning rugby.

England, one of the primary challengers to New Zealand’s crown, are in action at 9am (eir Sport) against those feisty felines, the Pumas.

There’s still time to sort yourself some breakfast and a pot of hot beverage before kick-off comes, so get yourself settled for what is sure to be a stormy encounter between nations with, shall we say, history.

Australia have already been in action this morning, securing a bonus point win over Uruguay to move top of Pool D and they could well be facing England in the last eight if results go as we expect.

Here’s the Argentina team hoping to disrupt that forecast. 

Argentina:  Emiliano Boffelli; Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Santiago Carreras; Benjamin Urdapilleta, Tomas Cubelli:  Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Juan Figallo; Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini; Pablo Matera (Capt), Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio. 

Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Lucas Mensa, Bautista Delguy


England have looked impressive so far, but this will be their first real Test and Jones has again gone with the dual playmaker option of Farrell and Ford. Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell look set to return from injury off the bench to give a real sense of momentum about this particular chariot.


England: Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (Capt), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs:  Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell.

Good news for Ireland! Eddie Jones reports that the humidity has dropped and he expects perfect conditions for running rugby in this one.

He also had a nice wee cut off Augustin Creevy, who said England played a ‘boring’ brand of rugby.

‘Everyone’s got their opinion,’ said Jones, ‘and he can express his opinion from the bench.’

As the teams head out to sing a few songs on the sideline, here’s another taste of the colour around the ground.

England fans really embracing the crusader, which isn’t exactly an image to win over hearts and minds in far-flung fields.

japan-rugby-wcup-england-argentina Source: Eugene Hoshiko




Alright then, that’s the formalities out of the way and Nigel Owens signals kick-off.


Solid start from England, but Argentina’s first attack is enough to give you nightmares about Cardiff in 2015.

A Billy V knock-on is chipped wide by Urdapilleta. Moroni cuts inside into space and chips ahead.

Fortunately for England, the cover in the back-field is there to sweep up behind the try-line.

Scrum V chance for Argentina though.


Argentina threaten and once Ford is called offside they whip a speculative pass wide where Carreras is bundled into touch.

Farrell gets a warning from the ref lest England think they can be cynical all day.


PENALTY! England 0 Argentina 3 (Urdapilleta ’6)


Exemplary response from England, mounting an efficient attack before getting a nice platform from a 10-metre line-out.

Itoje takes a throw to the tail and England truck up before switching back to the short side for Ford to slip the electric May into the corner.

Farrell’s kick cuts to the near side of the post to leave us with a two-point game.



And a fight!

Ahem, nobody likes to see these things of course… yada yada yada, but pass the popcorn will ya.


England won a scrum penalty and attempted to play the advantage before Owens whistled. Marginally after he did, Pablo Matera smashed late into Owen Farrell long after he had released a pass and that’s what sparked the slew of scuffles.


England showing nice line-speed in defence to keep Argentina from going wide as early as they’d like.

Jones’ side doing a good job of keeping the Pumas penned in their territory as they are also winning aerial battles when Argentina attempted to kick contestables clear.


Oh dear, Lavanini is in trouble here after a big smash on Owen Farrell’s face.

Flag 18Mins

RED CARD! Tomas Lavanini

The lock hit the English captain in the head and once Farrell dropped, Lavanini’s left arm kept on swinging just to make it a rubber-stamped, stonewall red card.


The playmaking centre dusts himself down to take aim at a 45 metre penalty, but it’s a second miss left for Farrell.

Would be understandable if he was ever so slightly rattled by the clash a moment earlier.


The Pumas are baying for a red in their favour and the roar goes up from the crowd as Tuilagi mis-times a tackle on  Emiliano Boffelli, catching the fullback just before he lands.

Penalty only.

This is a tough atmosphere for Owens to officiate in now.


England just moving a little tentatively into the second quarter of the game, trying to force an error or size up where the gaps are against the 14 men.

Oof. There is an error. Urdapilleta rockets an up and under straight up in the air above his own head just outside his 22.

Fortunately, Argentina win the contest and then a subsequent breakdown penalty off Joe Marler and the French-based 10 can have a clean strike down the touchline.


Argentina not out of ideas, just running out of space. 

De La Fuente trucks it up and they go wide left, where Carreras dinks and chases. But he’s in touch. 


Urdapilleta was starting to look a touch rattled, but the Castres out-half is never far away from a touch of class with that left boot, he drills a fine clearance kick from his 22 over the head of Watson and into touch.


Billy Vunipola has his ankle strapped up after a bit of treatment. The big 8 hobbles away, but that’s a lot of weight for those joints to keep moving.


Nice launch move from England now, spinning wide left off a line-out and once May has to check back inside, they go wide right.

Itoje trucks it up as they go near the line and England will stay in one-out formation in search of this score.


Nigel Owens gave Argentina three warnings before finally calling them offside. With the penalty advantage, England went wide with a slick move involving Ford and Watson passes to put Daly in space.

The fullback had to juggle slightly and looked as though he might scupper the chance as defenders moved on him and May. But he used their movement to his advantage, cutting outside and in to finish the try himself.

Farrell misses his third kick.


England mount another pretty ponderous attack that is reaching towards 20 phases. It’s not pretty, but it’s an ideal way to sap the energy from the 14 Pumas.


HALF-TIME:  England 15 Argentina 3

The pressure paid after the half-time gong. Many Tuilagi made a telling burst and Youngs sniped over from a ruck to catch the pillars napping.

Farrell is off target again, mind you. Very, very unusual for the captain who has been the target of red card-worthy head shots on both of his most recent appearances.


Here we go then, the second half is under way and England will get going without Billy Vunipola.

Lewis Ludlam steps into the back row in his place.


Big scrum effort on the right side of the 22 from England and they work a clever move to the left with Youngs looping before May is put into space.

They come back right and keep finding yards with big men, but they don’t need a big man to find the try-line.


Argentina just run out of bodies to tackle red shirts as they charge forward and it’s George Ford who sneaks through the gap to secure the bonus point.

The 10 isn’t going to take aim with the touchline conversion though, this time Farrell smashes a beaut between the sticks.

England 22 Argentina 3


And now comes the chokehold. Marler and Itoje combine to force a turnover, the lock ripping the ball away from the carrier before Ford kicks to the corner.

England are superb at pounding teams when they have them down.


PENALTY! England 25 Argentina 3 (Farrell ’53)

No grandstanding, no thought of running up a score. England win a penalty and grab the rewards with Farrell’s second successful strike.


It’s unraveling slowly and steadily for Argentina. Creevy said he was ready for war this week, but he’s come off the bench and taken a scolding from the ref over his messy scrummaging.

Cubelli is limping off injured now and Ezcurra will step in.


Mensa comes in for Urdapilleta. That looks like it will push De la Fuente into the out-half slot.


Here comes the cavalry now. Cole and Mako Vunipola come in the game for the final quarter.

Joe Marler looks in a little discomfort as he heads to the touchline. Not a bother on young Sinckler.


Courtney Lawes is now the subject of Argentine ire as he picks up a penalty, and no more, for a late tackle.

England get up and steal the resulting line-out thought. This is utter dominance as they prepare to notching a maximum 15 points on Pool C


TRY! England 25 Argentina 10 (Moroni ’71)

The Pumas get some reward for hanging on in here despite the man disadvantage. A lovely set-move – that looks rather familiar – cuts England open and Carreras slips Moroni away under the posts.


TRY! England 30 Argentina 10 (Nowell ’74)


Brilliant try from Nowell on his comeback. His leg power takes him out of contact and he dives for the corner to tap down England’s fifth try.

Superb finish and Farrell celebrates the returnee’s score like it’s the opener before slotting another conversion from the touchline.

England 32 Argentina 10

TRY! England 37 Argentina 10 (Cowan-Dickie ’80)

FULL-TIME: England 39 Argentina 10

Owen Farrell knocks over the conversion and England have now officially secured progress to the quarter-finals.

France can still deny them top spot, but on the evidence so far, it’s tough to see them stopping England.

About the author:

Sean Farrell


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