POOL B – ARGENTINA vs ENGLAND
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Saturday 10th Sep 8:30pm (NZT)
Head-to-head: Played 15, England 10, Argentina 4, Drawn 1
Last meeting: England 16 beat Argentina 9 in London 2009
Last meeting at a World Cup: England 24 beat Argentina 18 in Durban (Pool stage 1995)
Team news: With Juan Martin Hernandez exclusion from the squad through injury, Captain Felipe Contepomi has moved from the centres to fly-half. The loss of Hernandez aside, Coach Santiago Phelan has selected his strongest lineup. England have also been hit with an injury of their own. Captain Lewis Moody has succumbed to a knee injury and will not be fit to take on the Argentinians. Winger Mark Cueto will join him on the sidelines, but has recovered from his knee injury to take his place on the bench.
Form: Argentina have been starved of rugby in 2011, only playing three matches. Two of those were against minnows Uruguay and Chile which they comfortably won. The other was a narrow warm-up loss to Wales in Cardiff. England on the other hand have had three matches against fellow World Cup sides Wales and Ireland in the last month, winning all three of these matches and showing good form. Youngster Manu Tuilagi was a standout on his debut against the Welsh.
Prediction: England will start this match as favourites, and its clear to see why. The teams key players are hitting their straps at the right time of the year. Argentina will try to keep it tight and play a territorial game through the boot of Contepomi. The fact that England have played a lot more football over the last year, and have had a superior warm-up, should see them get home in a tight and entertaining match at what should be a great atmosphere.
England by 13
Argentina: 15.Martin Rodriguez, 14.Horacio Agulla, 13.Gonzalo Tiesi, 12.Santiago Fernandez, 11.Gonzalo Camacho, 10.Felipe Contepomi (capt), 9.Nicolas Vergallo, 8.Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7.Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6.Julio Farias Cabello, 5.Patricio Albacete, 4.Manuel Carizza, 3.Juan Figallo, 2.Mario Ledesma, 1.Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16.Agustin Creevy, 17.Martin Scelzo, 18.Mariano Galarza, 19.Alejandro Campos, 20.Alfredo Lalanne, 21.Marcelo Bosch, 22.Juan Jose Imhoff.
England: 15.Ben Foden, 14.Chris Ashton, 13.Manu Tuilagi, 12.Mike Tindall (capt), 11.Delon Armitage, 10.Jonny Wilkinson, 9.Richard Wigglesworth, 8,Nick Easter, 7,James Haskell, 6.Tom Croft, 5.Courtney Lawes, 4.Louis Deacon, 3.Dan Cole, 2.Steve Thompson, 1.Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16.Dylan Hartley, 17.Matt Stevens, 18.Tom Palmer, 19.Tom Wood, 20.Ben Youngs, 21.Toby Flood, 22.Matt Banahan.
By Alex Barlow-Smith