England continue their march
Sat, 09 Nov 2013 16:31
Ashton try turned the tide
England got their second big Southern Hemisphere scalp when they dispatched Argentina 31-12 at Twickenham on Saturday.
Their win follows last week's victory over Australia and come ahead of their big encounter with the wold's top team, New Zealand, next week.
Despite a second-half slump, England outscored the Pumas by four tries to nil.
It was indeed a tale of two halves, as the home team raced into a 24-6 lead at the break, but was made to battle hard in the second half and only a late Ben Morgan try gave them the 19-point Margin.
England had the match all but won at half-time after Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees and Chris Ashton all scored tries converted by Owen Farrell, with the flyhalf 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 scrum prowess.
Meanwhile Ben Foden, usually a fullback, 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, 3-32 and 26-51, in Argentina in June.
After an early exchange of penalties between Farrell and opposing flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, England after kicking a penalty for a close-range line-out, 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 posts.
England, however, soon had their second try in eight minutes.
Ashton should have scored after good work by fullback 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 line-out 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 weekend.
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.
Man of the match: Courtney Lawes silenced the growing band of critics with a stand-out first half. However, our award goes to England hooker Dylan Hartley - who impressed his core skills, which were exceptional, and his workrate, including a heaps of very effective tackles.
Moment of the match: This one goes to the Chris Ashton try just after the half-hour mark. Not only was it a well-worked try, but it ended the game as a contest - despite that second-half slump.
Villain: None, nothing untoward.
Tries: Launchbury, Twelvetrees, Ashton, Morgan
Cons: Farrell 3, Flood
Pens: Sánchez 3, Bosch
England: 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 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Alex Goode.
Argentina: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolás Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón (captain), 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Patricio Albacete, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Benjamín Macome, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi, 23 Santiago Cordero.
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Craig Joubert (South Africa)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
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