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A very, very good morning to all you lovers of Saturday morning rugby.
England, one of the primary challengers to New Zealand’s crown, are in action at 9am (eir Sport) against those feisty felines, the Pumas.
There’s still time to sort yourself some breakfast and a pot of hot beverage before kick-off comes, so get yourself settled for what is sure to be a stormy encounter between nations with, shall we say, history.
Australia have already been in action this morning, securing a bonus point win over Uruguay to move top of Pool D and they could well be facing England in the last eight if results go as we expect.
Here’s the Argentina team hoping to disrupt that forecast.
Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli; Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Santiago Carreras; Benjamin Urdapilleta, Tomas Cubelli: Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Juan Figallo; Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini; Pablo Matera (Capt), Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio.
Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Lucas Mensa, Bautista Delguy
England have looked impressive so far, but this will be their first real Test and Jones has again gone with the dual playmaker option of Farrell and Ford. Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell look set to return from injury off the bench to give a real sense of momentum about this particular chariot.
England: Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (Capt), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs: Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell.
Good news for Ireland! Eddie Jones reports that the humidity has dropped and he expects perfect conditions for running rugby in this one.
He also had a nice wee cut off Augustin Creevy, who said England played a ‘boring’ brand of rugby.
‘Everyone’s got their opinion,’ said Jones, ‘and he can express his opinion from the bench.’
As the teams head out to sing a few songs on the sideline, here’s another taste of the colour around the ground.
England fans really embracing the crusader, which isn’t exactly an image to win over hearts and minds in far-flung fields.
Source: Eugene Hoshiko
Alright then, that’s the formalities out of the way and Nigel Owens signalskick-off.
Solid start from England, but Argentina’s first attack is enough to give you nightmares about Cardiff in 2015.
A Billy V knock-on is chipped wide by Urdapilleta. Moroni cuts inside into space and chips ahead.
Fortunately for England, the cover in the back-field is there to sweep up behind the try-line.
Scrum V chance for Argentina though.
Argentina threaten and once Ford is called offside they whip a speculative pass wide where Carreras is bundled into touch.
Farrell gets a warning from the ref lest England think they can be cynical all day.
PENALTY! England 0 Argentina 3 (Urdapilleta ’6)
TRY! England 5 Argentina 3 (May ’8)
Exemplary response from England, mounting an efficient attack before getting a nice platform from a 10-metre line-out.
Itoje takes a throw to the tail and England truck up before switching back to the short side for Ford to slip the electric May into the corner.
Farrell’s kick cuts to the near side of the post to leave us with a two-point game.
And a fight!
Ahem, nobody likes to see these things of course… yada yada yada, but pass the popcorn will ya.
England won a scrum penalty and attempted to play the advantage before Owens whistled. Marginally after he did, Pablo Matera smashed late into Owen Farrell long after he had released a pass and that’s what sparked the slew of scuffles.
England showing nice line-speed in defence to keep Argentina from going wide as early as they’d like.
Jones’ side doing a good job of keeping the Pumas penned in their territory as they are also winning aerial battles when Argentina attempted to kick contestables clear.
Oh dear, Lavanini is in trouble here after a big smash on Owen Farrell’s face.
RED CARD! Tomas Lavanini
The lock hit the English captain in the head and once Farrell dropped, Lavanini’s left arm kept on swinging just to make it a rubber-stamped, stonewall red card.
The playmaking centre dusts himself down to take aim at a 45 metre penalty, but it’s a second miss left for Farrell.
Would be understandable if he was ever so slightly rattled by the clash a moment
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