England have overcome a courageous Argentina 13-9 in an enthralling match played between two teams who left nothing in the tank. Trailing for most of the game, it took the electric pace of replacement halfback Ben Youngs to finally give England the lead they would not relinquish.
England looked a shadow of themselves for most of the match, making countless errors and giving away penalties throughout. Most of these should be put down to Argentina’s pressure and willingness to play enterprising football.
The boot dominated the match played in-front of a fantastic crowd, where Youngs try was the only one scored. Contepomi, who succumbed to injury in the first half, got the scoring under-way in the sixth minute after one of many England indiscretions. Jonny Wilkinson levelled the scores five minutes later in what was a horrific night with the boot for the all-time leading point scorer in World Cup history.
Argentina should have had the match sewn up before the Youngs try, but missed six from the tee. They also only managed to score a solitary penalty when they had a numerical advantage after England prop Dan Cole was sin binned. The close loss, coupled with injuries to key players Contepomi and Tesi, will have the South American’s needing to win their remaining matches to have a hope of progressing.
England will have a weeks break before they face Georgia, and have a lot of work to do. Giving away that many penalties will anger Coach Johnson. The grit and determination shown, and the fact that they came away with the victory, will give them something to work with.
Man of the match: Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe was everywhere tonight. His workload was outstanding and he did not deserve to be on the losing side.
Pen: Wilkinson (2)
Pens: Contepomi, Rodríguez (2)