England vs Argentina
9:00am Saturday October
When they face Argentina in what they expect to be the first of five hard and hope games, england’s Rugby World Cup campaign efficiently starts on Saturday.
Eddie Jones couldn’t hide his delight in reaching this stage of the championship with wins over Tonga and the USA under his belt and remarkably a full, healthful squad of 31 to choose from.
No rapid turnarounds, no longer juggling of resources – a collection of tests every weekend against tier one states.
Victory over the Pumas, followed by the other against France, will secure top place in Pool C and a probable quarter-final with Australia.
Unsurprisingly, Jones was dismissive of those who have been underwhelmed with their opening displays – games that will be long forgotten if they go on to triumph or perhaps hit the final.
“We’re in a fantastic position,” he said. “It’s just like the Tour de France. We’ve gone through stage one. Now we get just a bit, refuel the bike off and then then we move into phase two now that is Argentina and we go again.
“Then we’ve got stage three, five and four. You don’t have to be in the yellow jersey now; you need to be inside at the time it counts.”
Jones, naturally, won’t allow his players to appear beyond Saturday’s experience, if England stuttered, and though he went through the pattern of piling praise on his enemies, it could be a huge upset.
Argentina’s victory over Tonga had been their very first after 10 successive defeats, for example their opener at Japan against France that likely put paid to their eligibility expects 80 minutes into the championship.
The present side are a shadow of the group who have won only five of their last 33 games and attained the semi-finals four years ago.
They ill-equipped to avoid a 10th successive defeat by England and were too powerful for Tonga but nevertheless seem showed flashes of caliber.
They will certainly be moved, knowing defeat would almost surely rubber-stamp their departure, and past skipper Agustin Creevy said the game would be”like a war, such as a final for us”.
Creevy, who is likely to win an Argentine record 88th cap from the bench on Saturday, also channelled the conventional”we are prouder than you” mantra so many teams wheeled out when facing England.
“When we put on this shirt we believe something different. It’s our family, our country, my heart. We perform together, the group is truly bonded,” he said.
“We love each other, and I think that’s distinct to other teams. We’re all brothers, inside and away from the area.”
A tearful anthem and a number of hugs, but are not likely to be anything like sufficient to unseat England, and rather his additional claim – that the favourites and programmed rugby play with – will have a ton more related to the result.
Since suffering a hamstring injury in May, england power-prop Mako Vunipola, who has played 17 minutes, will be eased back to action off the bench.
Where Argentina have slipped from their lofty heights, but Jones will still expect scrum parity.
He also seems settled on George Ford at Owen Farrell along with fly-half with both guys trying to feed out a back three and center Manu Tuilagi.
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Luke 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jack Nowell.
Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matas Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Santiago Carreras, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Toms Cubelli; 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, two Julian Montoya, 3 Juan Figallo, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Javier Ortega Desio.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Lucas Mensa, 23 Bautista Delguy.