Owen Farrell kicked 17 points as England secured a hard-fought 27-14 win over Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
On and on England go. They’ve now won 13 successive games dating back to last year’s final World Cup pool game, while 12 of those have come under the guidance of Eddie Jones.
What made this result even more impressive was that England were reduced to 14 men as early as the fifth minute when winger Elliot Daly was red-carded for taking Leonardo Senatore out in the air.
Despite this, England continued to apply plenty of pressure with ball in hand, and as Argentina’s discipline wavered, so Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over. Three successful penalties moved the hosts into a handy lead early on, while they were then awarded a penalty try just before the half an hour mark.
To make matters worse for the Pumas, Matías Moroni was shown a yellow card for the deliberate knock-down that led to the penalty try, with England moving into a commanding 16-0 lead.
However, there was a glimmer of hope for Argentina just before the break when repeated scrum infringements saw England captain Dylan Hartley sent to the sin bin, while Facundo Isa dotted down to help reduce the deficit to nine points at the break.
The Pumas continued to eat into that lead when some beautiful buildup play enabled winger Santiago Cordero to go over to score and suddenly make it a two-point ball game.
Yet, while Argentina continued to force England into make a host of tackles, their discipline repeatedly let them down, with Farrell adding two more penalties as the hosts worked their way into an eight-point buffer heading into the final quarter.
Ironically, Farrell in fact endured an off-night with the boot as he missed three penalties and a conversion, but despite being a man down for some 75 minutes, England never really looked likely to relinquish their now 13-game winning streak.
The result was effectively sealed when Jonny May scored in the 68th minute, while an ill-disciplined encounter was rather aptly summed up when England’s Joe Marler was sent to the sin bin and Pumas replacement Enrique Pieretto shown a red card for a stamp late in the game.
England – Tries: Penalty try, Jonny May. Conversion: Farrell. Penalties: Owen Farrell (5).
Argentina – Tries: Facundo Isa, Santiago Cordero. Conversions: Juan Martín Hernández (2).
England – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Teimana Harrison,, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry Slade.
Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Tomás Cubell, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Facundo Isa, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles.
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images