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Rusty England overcome spirited Pumas

England celebrate Nathan Hughes’ try

Semesa Rokoduguni marked his first Test in a year with a try as England beat Argentina 21-8 in a scrappy first November international at Twickenham.

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The Six Nations champions were looking to make a statement a week before facing Australia, but were not at their best against the Pumas in an attritional contest on Saturday.

Nathan Hughes scored the only try of the first half and Rokoduguni came off the bench to add a second following the interval after replacing Mike Brown, who was injured in a sickening fall after taking a high ball in the first half.

Nicolas Sanchez scored a late consolation try for Argentina, who missed four penalties in a spirited display and still have just the one win to their name in a miserable year in which they lost both Tests against England on home soil in June.

George Ford scored 11 points with the boot and laid on Hughes’ try, while Mako Vunipola was influential as England, missing the rested Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, got the job done after but will have to raise their game against the Wallabies.

Ford struck a post with a penalty before putting England in front from the tee seven minutes in, but Emiliano Boffelli split the posts to bring Daniel Hourcade’s side level after the impressive Sam Underhill was penalised for not rolling away following a big hit.

Another Ford penalty restored England’s advantage before Brown’s participation came to a horrific end when he landed on his head midway through the first half after being caught by Joaquin Tuculet taking a high ball, Rokoduguni coming on to replace him and Anthony Watson moving to full-back.

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Tuculet was shown a yellow card and the opening try came soon after, Ford showing his class by missing out three men with a magnificent pass which Hughes plucked at the second attempt and powered his way over in the right corner.

Ford struck the woodwork for a second time with his conversion attempt, but the number 10 added a third penalty to put England 14-3 up at the break following two bad misses from Juan Martin Hernandez.

England were guilty of too many errors in the second half as the Pumas stood firm, Boffelli missing a chance to reduce the deficit to only eight points with a penalty which was a long way wide of the target.

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Hernandez kicked for the corner moments later as the 2015 World Cup semi-finals scented an opportunity to set up a tense finale, but were denied when England won a scrum and there was more frustration for the Pumas when replacement Sanchez failed to slot over a penalty.

Eddie Jones has spoken of the importance of England’s “finishers” making an impact from the bench and Alex Lozowski did just that, darting through a gap to put Argentina on the front foot before Rokoduguni finished on the right after Henry Slade picked him out with a pass which looked slightly forward but was given after a check from the TMO.

Sanchez finally breached a solid England defence to go over for a late try after Sam Simmonds came on for his debut in a rusty performance from the home side.

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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