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‘Each game will be a final’: Pumas eager to bounce back after England loss

By Finn Morton
George Ford of England consoles Agustin Creevy of Argentina after defeating Argentina 27-10, in which he scored all of the points for England which consisted of six penalties and three drop goals, at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between England and Argentina at Stade Velodrome on September 09, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Argentina are in Rugby World Cup survival mode after opening their campaign with a disastrous 27-10 defeat to a 14-man England outfit last weekend.

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Flanker Tom Curry was sent to the sin bin inside the opening few minutes, and the incident was later upgraded by the TMO following an off-field review.

But England, who lost Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola to red cards during their warm-up Tests last month, somehow played better with a one-man disadvantage.

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Playmaker George Ford kicked England to a now-famous Rugby World Cup victory, while Argentina are left wondering how everything went frustratingly wrong so quickly.

Forwards coach Andrés Bordoy said the result “hurts and affects our pride” as Los Pumas set their sights on three must-win pool clashes against Samoa, Chile and Japan.

“We are now working with more focus, being more demanding, that’s where the mental key will be,” Bordoy told reporters.

“There are three finals to play, three games in which we have to show everything we have been doing. The challenge now is going to be to carry out what we have worked on. That will be the key to the mental aspect.”

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More than 50 per cent of online voters on RugbyPass predicted Los Pumas to top Pool D before the Rugby World Cup.

Points Flow Chart

England win +17
Time in lead
55
Mins in lead
5
69%
% Of Game In Lead
6%
34%
Possession Last 10 min
66%
3
Points Last 10 min
7

England had only won a single warm-up Test ahead of the sports showpiece event, and their overall win-loss record under coach Steve Borthwick isn’t much better.

But former captain Chris Robshaw has even labelled them as one of the three standout teams from the opening round of the World Cup.

The English turned some heads as they put on a show in Marseille.

“England became stronger with a player short because of the way they played and kicked. They were more alert and were fair winners. We couldn’t take advantage,” Argentina veteran Agustin Creevy said.

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“I don’t know if it was in our head, I don’t have the analysis done.”

But Los Pumas’ quest for a first Rugby World Cup crown is far from over. The loss doesn’t help their chances, sure, but it doesn’t put them to bed either.

Creevy, who recently became the first centurion in the Pumas’ history, said these types of losses can galvanise a team.

“In these types of defeats, you learn more than you think, especially for a first Rugby World Cup match,” the hooker added.

“We are all a little bit disappointed because we could not show everything we have been doing in training, with very, very good group and individual work.

“This is going to help us be stronger, to unite more. We must face this, put our minds to it and think of Samoa. Each game will be a final.”

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