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Argentina first high-profile nation to be knocked out of a World Cup that has now seen a record number of red cards

By Tom Vinicombe
Tomas Lavanini is given his marching orders by Nigel Owens. (Photo by David Rogers / Getty Images)

Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma will be camped out in front of the TV tomorrow praying that Tonga are somehow able to upset France in Kumamoto and give his side a chance at still making the quarterfinals.

In all likelihood, however, tonight’s comprehensive 32-10 loss to England will mean that Argentina will miss out on making the sudden death stages of a Rugby World Cup for the first time since 2003.

England outplayed Argentina across the park, but still only took a 12-point lead into the halftime break. Who knows what could have happened if Tomas Lavanini hadn’t made a dangerous tackle on England captain Owen Farrell in the 18th minute, forcing his team to play for three-quarters of the game with only 14 men?

It’s Lavanini’s 3rd red card in all internationals, which gives him the undesirable record of being the most red-carded player in Test rugby history.

Continued below…

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The card also marked the 2019 World Cup’s 5th after just 24 games played.

Prior to the match, the four red cards dished out (to John Quill, Ed Fidow, Facundo Gattas and Andrea Lovotti) equalled the numbers handed out in 1995 and 1999. Now, 2019 stands alone – and we’re only halfway through the tournament.

Argentina came into the match knowing that they needed a victory to keep their campaign alive, on account of already losing to France in their first match of the tournament.

They started well, earning the first points of the game through a Benjamin Urdapilleta penalty.

That was basically it for the Pumas, however.

Jonny May struck for England just minutes later, then Lavinini was given his marching orders.

Elliot Daly and Ben Youngs also scored tries for England in the first half, with Youngs’ coming after the halftime gong.

England didn’t exactly dominate the second half, scoring three tries through George Ford, Luke Cowan-Dickie and the returning Jack Nowell, but Argentina never really threatened to make a game of it either – although Matias Moroni did dot down in the final ten minutes.

Ultimately, Ledesma will look back at the game as one that Argentina may well have been able to win if they had kept their full complement on the field.

England, on the other hand, are still looking for their first testing match.

The Pumas still have one last game to play at the World Cup, against the USA in 4 days time whilst England will play a pool-decider against France next Saturday.

RugbyPass recently sat down with Matt Giteau and Mike Tindall to discuss their former teams’ chances at the World Cup:

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