Planet Rugby

England claim unconvincing win

09th November 2013 16:20

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england v argentina billy twelvetrees

Scored: Billy Twelvetrees

England made it two wins from two in their November series on Saturday, sealing a 31-12 victory over Argentina.

It wasn't pretty, particularly in the second-half as the hosts only troubled the scorers in the final minutes after what was a decent opening spell.

Questions will be asked of his team by head coach Stuart Lancaster as to what happened at the turnaround to cause such a slump in form.

But credit must also go to the Pumas, who were a different side after the interval, as they looked to eat into the sizeable 24-6 half-time scoreline.

As mentioned, Argentina looked a shadow of their best in the first-half as England took them on up front, leading to gaps being created on the fringe.

However, the second 40 minutes would see the English fail to add to their three first period tries which will be a concern ahead of New Zealand.

In truth, the dip in fluency is an issue as they look to make it a clean sweep in November through back-to-back home wins against the All Blacks.

Owen Farrell opened the scoring with five minutes played after a breakdown offence from the flat Pumas, but opposite number Nicolas Sanchez replied two minutes later.

However, then came the English power as at the second attempt, the hosts powered over thanks to a pushover try from Joe Launchbury. An easy Farrell conversion meant it was 10-3 with thirteen minutes played. It looked like the Red Rose was on its way to an easy win.

Argentina were hanging in there though at Twickenham and bounced back off the ropes thanks to a long-range penalty attempt from Saracens outside centre Marcelo Bosch.

Stuart Lancaster's men were still showing more signs of turning the screw however and were over again with a quarter of the game gone, again at the second time of asking. Chris Ashton had gone close and probably should have scored on the right wing before inside centre Billy Twelvetrees barged over Pumas left wing Juan Imhoff to extend the lead.

With Farrell's conversion it was 17-6 before Ashton was rewarded by his fly-half on 33 minutes with a simple slide over that possibly should have been checked by Television Match Official Iain Ramage, with Ashton seemingly being very close to the sideline.

That was about as good as it got for England as they returned from the break with very little impetus, with the Pumas being the side in the ascendancy for the majority of the second 40.

Despite England strengthening their scrum by bringing on Alex Corbisiero in place of loosehead Joe Marler at half-time, Argentina struck first through two Sanchez penalties.

Lancaster brought on several replacements and England, with Argentina rallying, struggled to get their hands on the ball, compounded when Farrell carelessly kicked a penalty dead.

Argentina were still in the game with eight minutes left but their hopes of a come-from-behind win evaporated when Bosch missed a long-range penalty from right in front.

And that miss was compounded when replacement Ben Morgan blasted through Santiago Cordero's attempted tackle for a try converted by fellow replacement, fly-half Toby Flood.

Man of the match: Tough seeing as few players stood out for the full game but we go for Tom Wood, who continues to shine. His rangy yet powerful style was again prominent.

Moment of the match: Half-time...what happened at the break to see such a turnaround?

Villain of the match: Nothing malicious to report.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Launchbury, Twelvetrees, Ashton, Morgan
Con: Farrell 4
Pen: Farrell

For Argentina:
Pen: Sanchez 3, Bosch

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 (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Youngs, 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 (c), 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.

Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Craig Joubert (South Africa)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

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