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England pick up World Cup bronze medal with gritty win over Argentina

By PA
The players of England pose for a squad photo at full-time after receiving their bronze medals following victory in the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France on October 27, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

England held their nerve to overcome Argentina’s determined fightback and finish the World Cup in third place with a tense 26-23 victory at the Stade de France.

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Ben Earl and Theo Dan touched down but England will rue allowing a 13-0 lead to slip away, the Pumas clearly out to avenge their rout when the teams met in the pool stage seven weeks ago.

The remaining points for England in an arm-wrestle of a contest in which ‘Kamikaze Kids’ Tom Curry and Sam Underhill excelled were supplied by Owen Farrell’s flawless kicking, which ultimately proved the difference between the sides.

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England have now finished in the World Cup’s top three on five occasions, with only Saturday’s finalists New Zealand and South Africa managing more podium appearances.

Argentina were roared on by the neutrals in a 77,674 crowd and with only pockets of Red Rose supporters present, it was the most partisan atmosphere Steve Borthwick’s side have faced at the World Cup.

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Farrell was booed repeatedly and Ben Youngs drew the same reaction when he jogged off with half an hour left, even though the nation’s most capped player was making his 127th and final appearance.

The evening was not much fun for Henry Arundell, who ran in five tries against Chile yet was passed the ball only once here, reducing one of England’s most dangerous runners to the role of bystander until he was withdrawn with 15 minutes left.

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Having produced among the worst semi-final appearances in World Cup history against New Zealand, Argentina were far hungrier as they looked to emulate their previous best tournament performance of third place in 2007.

It was the Pumas side who edged Wales in the last eight that ultimately turned up at the Stade de France, although it took them time to get going

England initially picked up where they had left off in Marseille by scoring freely, a short pass from Marcus Smith slipping Earl through a gap and there was no stopping the number eight from 15 metres out.

It was part of a bright start by England, who kicked intelligently and were accurate in everything they did, enabling them to build a 13-0 lead when Farrell added two penalties.

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Argentina were already on the ropes but they took heart from making headway through the white defence until they were sent hurtling backwards at a scrum in front of the posts.

Emiliano Boffelli got the Pumas off the mark with a penalty but it was all they had to show for period of ascendency, their prospects not helped by two knock-ons at key times.

England’s own play had become more ragged and when Farrell kicked away possession and a penalty was conceded, Argentina went on the rampage with a sweeping attack that ended when Tomas Cubelli went over.

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The officials declined to check for an obvious forward pass during the move but there was nothing controversial about the Pumas’ second try when Dan missed a tackle that allowed Santiago Carreras to glide into space and finish with class.

Dan’s redemption was instant as from the restart he changed down Carreras’ clearance, gathered the ball and scored.

As chants of “Argentina, Argentina” sounded around the Stade de France and the Pumas vigorously celebrated winning a penalty, there was a sense of occasion of the match even if play was stop-start and often ugly.

Farrell and Nicolas Sanchez traded penalties and with neither side able to seize control of the game, an edgy climax approached.

Sanchez missed what should have been a routine penalty and England were not troubled again, closing out the match in the right half of the pitch.

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Eabn 6 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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