Mako Vunipola ‘We’ll have to be at the top of our game’ – England focused for Argentina test

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Mako Vunipola England team huddle

England are currently top of Pool C, one point clear of France and four ahead of Argentina
2019 Rugby World Cup: England v Argentina
Venue:Tokyo Stadium, TokyoDate:Saturday, 5 OctoberKick-off:09:00 BST
Coverage:Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online, live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app and live on ITV.

England face Argentina at the World Cup on Saturday with a quarter-final place at stake – and, four years after being knocked out in the group stage, the official line from the England camp in Japan is clear: take nothing for granted.

England’s World Cup tilt has so far resembled an old-school computer game. A breeze through the first two levels, a tougher one next, a harder one still beyond.

Fight through all seven in seven weeks and the greatest prize in the sport will be theirs, but no-one in the camp is daring – publicly at least – to look any further than Argentina.

If that is a sensible PR strategy, it doesn’t necessarily match that of their support. England have not lost to Argentina in a decade. The Pumas were on a run of 10 consecutive defeats – the worst trot in their illustrious history – before last week’s win over Tonga.

Beat Mario Ledesma’s men once again here in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon and England will have qualified for the quarter-finals.

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“Argentina are a very passionate nation, and they play with their hearts on their sleeves,” England skipper Owen Farrell told BBC 5 Live.

“They have a lot of emotion, they’re renowned for their scrummaging and they have backs who can win the ball in the air and create things out of nothing. We’re going to have to be at the top of our game.

“They seem to play their best rugby at World Cups. The Jaguares playing so well in Super Rugby this year [the Buenos Aires-based side reached the final] has obviously put them in good stead coming into this one, and when the majority of your team play together week-in, week-out, it’s got to be a good thing.”


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