Depleted England beat Argentina

Depleted England beat Argentina
Mike Brown in action v Argentina

Mike Brown in action v Argentina

England beat Argentina 27-14 though playing with 14 men for most of the game and with 13 men at other times.

Both teams showed poor discipline and the game tally was two red cards and four yellows.

 Eddie Jones – perfect record in 2016 with one to go

First half

The test started sensationally when the Rose’s winger Elliot Daly was red-carded in the fourth minute. Scrummie Ben Youngs had hoisted the ball and Daly contested clumsily, and thereby floored Argentina no. 8 Leonardo Senatore.

But it was as though Argentina, not England, was a man short and trying too hard, because Farrell slotted three penalty goals in the first 23 minutes for England to lead 9-0.

Then near halfway 13 Matias Orlando kicked the ball through and it hit the large leg of 8 Billy Vunipola, and ricocheted back over the Los Pumas’ 22. On recovery the ball was lost by Argentina and England was in for a try, for all money, but for a deliberate knock-on by winger Matias Olando. Penalty try – and a yellow card to Orlando; England ahead 16-0 at 29 minutes.

Five minutes later Argentina began a 14-minute period of occupation in the England 22. If you think that doesn’t add up to 40 minutes, you’re right, because Argentina kept on taking scrums for penalty advantage when the game was in referee’s time. Eventually tight head prop, Dan Coles, was carded for team scrum infringements, and later Argentine Facundo Isa could not be stopped from the back of a scrum.

The lads took off to the sheds after 48 minutes of actual play.

Half-time score: England 16 – Argentina 7.

Facundo Isa – scored first try for Argentina

Second half

The start of the second half was also sensational. No doubt instructed by their coaches, Los Pumas let the ball sing against 13 men and, following a superb run by winger JP Estelles, fullback Santiago Cordero scored between the sticks after only 50 seconds.

At 16-14 to England the game seemed wide open but the serial flaws of Argentine indiscipline in 2016 prevailed, and after two Farrell penalties from a maul and a scrum stabbed the visitors, England had increased their lead to 22-14, and there were only 17 minutes left.

Then came a killer blow four minutes later with when winger Jonny May scored England’s third try to increase their lead.  Argentina tried to press to get the ball back to do something with it, but a red card to reserve forward Pieretto Helan didn’t help.

Final score: England 27- Argentina 14

 Jonny May – scored killer try for England

The wrap up

Both coaches would have deplored the self-control of their team which left them with three cards apiece, but England was impressive coping with the situation as though they had trained specifically for playing a man short for so long. More exactly, in the 89 minutes of elapsed time in the test match and taking into account cards for both sides, England were down a man for 55 minutes and down two for ten.

Argentina made a game of it with a try either side of the break but further Pumas’ indiscretions made it easier for England on the scoreboard.

Argentina could only take advantage of extra numbers when they were playing against 13 men after Cole was binned, whereas England was able to change their game and go into “one-man-down” mode from the beginning of the game.

The game changer

There were a few if Argentina had won. The try after seven minutes of extra time in the first half was key to getting them back in the match, and the try after the second half kick-off would have been another.

But the game changer happened after Farrell missed a routine penalty goal attempt and England got the ball back from the drop out. Unaccountably Argentina did not have enough men on one side and and after spot-on passing and drawing, Jonny May scored for the Roses to be 13 points ahead with the same amount of minutes left.

 Chris Robshaw – man of the match

Man of the match

For Argentina the new winger Estelles and fullback Codero, playing out of position, impressed me.  For England no.8 Billy Vunipola would have been MOTM had he not been injured before half-time, so dominant was his play when healthy. Jonny May we always see streaking ahead on the wing with his speed, but he used it repeatedly on defence as well in this game.

But the award had to go to a forward, and for me it was either 7 Tom Wood, not really an opensider, or 6 Chris Robshaw – and Robshaw for his Trojan effort is the Green and Gold Man of the Match.

The Details

England – 27

Tries: Penalty try, (28′), J. May (67′).

Conversions: O. Farrell (29′).

Penalties: O. Farrell (3′, 12′, 23′, 51′, 63′)

Argentina – 14

Tries: F. Isa (40+’), S. Cordero (41′)

Conversions: JM Hernandez (40+’, 42′)

Penalties: none

England – Red: E. Daly ; Yellow: D. Cole 40+’, J. Marler 75.

Argentina – Red: EP Heilan (75′); Yellow: M. Orlando (28′), P. Matera (65′).

Crowd: tba

Team lists
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola. Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry Slade.

Argentina: 15 J Santiago Cordero, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Juan Pablo Estelles, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera. Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Facundo Isa, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 23 Gabriel Ascarate.


Voted most valuable member of the G&GR Forum since records began - Ed.

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