England have inflicted a heavy 39-10 defeat on Argentina at Tokyo Stadium, all but ending Los Pumas’ hopes of a quarter-finals berth while sealing their own place in the final eight.
Argentina were impressive in the very early stages of the game. They got up in England’s faces consistently for the first ten minutes and scored the first points of the match with a penalty goal to Benjamin Urdapilleta.
However, Los Pumas began to implode after a 19th-minute red card to second-rower Tomas Lavanini left them to play the remaining 61 minutes of the game with just 14 players. England exploited the extra space well in attack, scoring six to Argentina’s one.
Here are five talking points from the game.
England set up Pool C showdown with France next week
The bonus-point victory by England over Argentina has set up a mouth-watering match-up between two of Europe’s oldest rivals to decide which nation will finish atop Pool C and take on the Wallabies in the quarter-finals.
England will be very happy with the win, but they know the real challenge is in front of them against a French side that will put up a much more of a fight than Argentina did in this match.
While England flexed their muscles against Argentina, France will have the opportunity to do the same against Tonga and make a statement ahead of their match-up against England.
Los Pumas fail to qualify for the knockout Stage
This loss to England raises serious questions about Argentina’s progress, who have now failed to qualify for a World Cup knockout stage for the first time since the 2003 tournament.
With so many of the Pumas’ players playing together for the Jaguares in Super Rugby, it would make sense that the building of combinations at that level would make for stronger performances from the Test side.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way and the Pumas have now finished off a very disappointing international rugby season in 2019, despite the Jaguares making the Super Rugby semi-finals.
Night to forget for Tomas Lavanini
When Argentinian second-rower Lavanini received a red card for his late shoulder to the head of England inside-centre Owen Farrell, he knew he’d made a truly costly error.
Lavanini has been a mainstay in the Pumas line up for a long time, racking up 53 caps since making his debut in 2013.
However, it was certainly a night to forget for the big South American. The look on his face when he was sitting on the bench told the story of a man who knew he’d let his teammates down, and it can’t have been easy for him to watch them get flogged by England.
Unfortunately too, Lavanini is now the most-carded Argentinian player in Test match history, with five yellows and now two reds.
Ben Youngs overtakes Johnny Wilkinson as third most-capped English player of all time
England scrumhalf Ben Youngs celebrated a wonderful milestone in style with a magnificent 46 minutes of rugby, overtaking the great Johnny Wilkinson to become England’s third-most capped player ever, along with Dan Cole on 92 caps.
Youngs came from the field with the game well in England’s grasp. He scored a try, beat two defenders and made a clean break, but perhaps most importantly, he constantly put pressure on the Argentinian backs with his pinpoint accurate kicking game.
He’ll be a vital cog in the England machine going forward in this tournament and beyond.
Argentina razzle-dazzle for late consolation try
There may not have been much to like about what Argentina dished up against England. But Matias Moroni’s consolation try in the 70th minute was some serious champagne rugby.
It was a beautiful set move off a line out on the ten-metre line. The ball went to substitute Tomas Lezana, who was at first receiver. He threw it to Felipe Ezcurra on the openside, who quickly gave it to Lucas Mensa, who was already wrapping around back to the short side.
Mensa then gave it to winger Santiago Carreras, who strolled through a yawning gap created by the crafty play.
Carreras approached the English fullback and completed the move with a textbook draw and pass to Matias Moroni who scored next to the posts untouched. It was a beautiful try, yet it served as a sad reminder of how truly disappointing Argentina has been at this tournament, given they’re capable of producing tries like that.
What did you think Roarers? What are some of the other talking points to come out of this game? Make sure to post your thoughts in the comments below.