Preview: Argentina v England
Fri, 07 Jun 2013 07:34
Santiago Phelan has opted to give some of his frontline players a rest
Stuart Lancaster's England are bidding to rewrite history when their two-Test series against Argentina starts in Salta on Saturday.
No England side has ever won two Tests in Argentina and the last side to triumph in a series was the one led by Bill Beaumont in 1981, which won one international and drew another.
Lancaster has brought an inexperienced side to South America, with nine players picked in the original British and Irish Lions tour party and others such as Chris Ashton, Chris Robshaw, Brad Barritt and Danny Care given the summer off.
Lancaster's starting line-up on Saturday boasts just 123 caps compared with the 237 won by the Pumas but the head coach is building for the 2015 World Cup and insists his youngsters will gain invaluable experience from Saturday's Test and the second in Buenos Aires a week later.
"It is a big challenge but also a fantastic opportunity," Lancaster told reporters in Salta. "It is the perfect challenge we want for this group of players. It will be Test match rugby and the intensity will be higher than some of the players have played in before.
"The speed of thought and deed, the passion of the occasion and dealing with the passion and emotion of it all will be critical and we need to make sure we are on the edge but not over the edge.
"They have got experience and players who have been in and around their squad for a long time. We are expecting a similarity to how they will approach the game as they did in the autumn internationals and the Rugby Championship, where they were very competitive and beat Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
"I think their style of play will be similar and I think for their coaching team and ourselves it is a great opportunity to look at how these players do."
England's preparations were hampered when loosehead prop Alex Corbisiero was called up by the Lions in Australia as injury cover for Ireland's Cian Healy. Harlequins' Joe Marler takes over here on Saturday whilst Corbisiero left Argentina on Thursday to be ready for Tuesday's Lions' game against a combined New South Wales Queensland Country XV.
Lancaster added: "In order for him to be a viable option for them he needs to be available for next Tuesday's game. As a consequence he needs to go now in order to be involved."
Argentina will be captained by veteran inside back Felipe Contepomi, who leads a team of nine overseas-based players with the balance made up of players from the Pampas XV that played in the Vodacom Cup.
However, coach Santiago Phelan has opted to give some of his frontline players a rest ahead of the gruelling Rugby Championship.
Players to watch:
For Argentina: The midfield partnership of the experienced Felipe Contepomi and the exciting Gonzalo Tiesi will look to spark the backline, and in the forward pack hard-working loose forwards Tomas Leonardi and Julio Farias Cabello will look to leave their mark on the English.
For England: Outside backs Mike Brown, Christian Wade and David Strettle are all dangerous when given space, and it will be interesting to see how young flyhalf Freddie Burns goes in the No.10 jersey. Powerful No.8 Ben Morgan will bring some physicality up front, and prop Joe Marler will do plenty of hard work in the tight phases.
Head-to-head: The midfield battle between the old head of Contepomi and the youthful exuberance of Billy Twelvetrees should be good, and at the back of the scrum the clash between Morgan and Leonardi should be intense.
2011: England won 13-9 in Dunedin
2009: England won 16-9 in London
2009: Argentina won 24-22 in Salta
2009: England won 37-15 in Manchester
2006: Argentina won 25-18 in London
2002: England won 26-18 in Beunos Aires
2000: England won 19-0 in London
1997: Argentina won 33-13 in Beunos Aires
1997: England won 46-20 in Beunos Aires
1996: England won 20-18 in London
Prediction: England have got a few exciting players that could cause hassles, but we are backing Argentina to win at home by about five points.
Argentina: 15 Martin Bustos Moyano, 14 Matias Orlando, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11 Manual Montero, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Benjamin Macome, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Maximilano Bustos, 2 Martin Garcia Veiga, 1 Pablo Henn.
Replacements: 16 Mauricio Guidone, 17 Guillermo Roan, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Tomas De la Vega, 21 Nicolas Vergallo, 22 Gabriel Ascarate, 23 Belisario Agulla.
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 David Strettle, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Henry Thomas, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Kyle Eastmond, 23 Ben Foden.
Date: Saturday, June 8
Venue: El Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta
Kick-off: 16.10 (19.10 GMT)
Expected weather: Overcast with 40% chance of rain. 19 °C with a 15 k/ph breeze
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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