London - It was a tale of two halves as England made it two wins out of two this
November with a 31-12 victory over Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.
England had the match all but won at half-time at 24-6 after Joe Launchbury,
Billy Twelvetrees and Chris Ashton all scored tries converted by Owen Farrell,
with the fly-half also kicking a penalty.
Yet, concerningly ahead of next week's visit of world champions New Zealand,
they didn't add to their tally until two minutes before full-time when
replacement back-row Ben Morgan crossed for a try.
England coach Stuart Lancaster made four changes to the starting side that
beat Australia 20-13 at Twickenham last weekend, including a new front row of
David Wilson, Dylan Hartley and Joe Marler in a bid to combat the Pumas' renowned
Meanwhile Ben Foden, usually a full-back, was recalled on the wing after
injuries ruled out both Marland Yarde and Christian Wade.
Argentina, in their first match under new coach Daniel Hourcade, came into
this fixture on the back of six straight defeats in the Rugby Championship.
They'd also lost their two most recent Tests against England, 32-3 and
51-26, in Argentina in June.
After an early exchange of penalties between Farrell and opposing fly-half
Nicolas Sanchez, England after kicking a penalty for a close-range lineout, saw
lock Launchbury driven over for his first Test try in the 13th minute.
Barely 60 seconds later Wilson, was penalised for collapsing a scrum and,
from almost halfway, Pumas centre Marcelo Bosch kicked the ball between the
England, however, soon had their second try in eight minutes.
Ashton should have scored after good work by full-back Mike Brown but the
wing was held up by Juan Imhoff.
From the resulting five-metre scrum, England moved the ball left and
Twelvetrees, who missed a tackle that led to Australia's opening try last
weekend, brushed aside three poor challenges after bursting through an inviting
gap in the Argentina defence. Farrell converted and England led 17-6.
And six minutes before the break England had another try when Ashton went in
on the blindside after more solid work by the pack in the build-up.
Farrell landed a superb conversion from the right touchline and England,
with Bosch's 53 metre penalty-attempt falling short and a promising Sanchez
break pulled back by French referee Pascal Gauzere for offside, had a
commanding lead at the break.
England strengthened their scrum by bringing on fit-again prop Alex
Corbisiero in place of Joe Marler at half-time.
However, it was Argentina who scored the first points of the second half
through two well-struck Sanchez penalties
Lancaster brought on several replacements and England, with Argentina
rallying, struggled to get their hands on the ball.
Farrell then carelessly kicked a penalty dead in search of another lineout
although England did well to resist a close range scrum.
Argentina were still in the game with eight minutes left but their hopes of
a come-from-behind win evaporated when Bosch missed a long-range penalty.
And that miss was compounded when Morgan blasted through Santiago Cordero's
attempted tackle for a try converted by fellow replacement Toby Flood.
England are surely in for a tougher match when the All Blacks, seeking to
avenge last year's shock Twickenham defeat, arrive at 'headquarters' next
Meanwhile, Argentina will continue their European tour against Wales in
Cardiff, with the Pumas looking to repeat their victory over the Six Nations
champions in last year's corresponding clash at the Millennium Stadium.
Tries: Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees, Chris Ashton, Ben Morgan
Conversions: Owen Farrell (4)
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (3), Marcelo Bosch
15. Mike Brown, 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Joel Tomkins, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Ben Foden, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Lee Dickson; 8. Billy Vunipola, 7. Chris Robshaw (captain), 6. Tom Wood, 5. Courtney Lawes, 4. Joe Launchbury, 3. David Wilson, 2. Tom Youngs, 1. Joe Marler.
Substitutes 16. Tom Youngs, 17. Alex Corbisiero, 18. Dan Cole, 19. Geoff Parling, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Danny Care, 22. Toby Flood, 23. Alex Goode.
15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14. Horacio Agulla, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Santiago Fernandez, 11. Juan Imhoff, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Tomas Cubelli; 1. Marcos Ayerza 2. Eusebio Guinazu, 3. Maximiliano Bustos, 4. Mariano Galarza, 5. Patricio Albacete, 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Julio Farias Cabello, 8. Juan Manuel Leguizamon (captain).
Substitutes: 16. Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17. Nahuel Lobo, 18. Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19. Manuel Carizza, 20. Benjamin Macome, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Gonzalo Tiesi, 23. Santiago Cordero.