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Arg v Eng: Talking points

16 June 2017 National Sport


Last Updated: 16/06/17 3:04pm

Joe Launchbury could yet get a call-up for the Lions

Joe Launchbury could yet get a call-up for the Lions

England bring to a close their mini tour of Argentina on Saturday when they take on the Pumas in Sante Fe hoping to complete a 2-0 series triumph.

The trip has played out as a backdrop to the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand but it holds great significance for the players, both in the short and long term.

Here are the talking points ahead of the second Test.

Looking for a series whitewash

Although head coach Eddie Jones has insisted all along that the aim was a 2-0 victory, one defeat – or even two – would not have been disastrous given the somewhat experimental make-up of the squad.

With 30 players unavailable, it was an opportunity to blood a host of youngsters and most of the 10 new caps in San Juan seized it with both hands.

A series whitewash, against a strong Argentina side, would be a bonus and demonstrate the depth of talent available to Jones in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.

Why has Jones changed a winning team?

Chris Robshaw is back to full fitness

Chris Robshaw is back to full fitness

Chris Robshaw is back to full fitness

Experienced flanker Chris Robshaw would have been one of the first names on the team sheet for the first Test had he not been injured, so despite the impressive debuts of Mark Wilson and Sam Curry, he was always going to return once he proved his fitness.

That demonstrates Jones’ determination to complete a series clean sweep, while he is also keen to see how youngsters Sam Underhill and Piers Francis perform on the big stage as he plans for the World Cup.

Game plan

 George Ford looks to pass against the Pumas in the first Test

 George Ford looks to pass against the Pumas in the first Test

George Ford looks to pass against the Pumas in the first Test

Well, the conditions will be different for a start. The temperature is expected to be around 26 degrees, which would be similar to that under the clear blue sky of San Juan, but here it far more humid, which could be a factor towards the end of the game.

After frittering away a winning position in the first Test, the Pumas are likely to adopt a more cautious approach as they seek to level the series, reverting to their more traditional reliance on set-piece play, which could mean a low-scoring, attritional encounter.

Last call for Lions

With fitness doubts surrounding fly-half Owen Farrell and lock Courtney Lawes on the Lions tour, impressive performances in Sante Fe from George Ford and Joe Launchbury could clinch promotion for them if Warren Gatland opts to send for replacements.

Building for 2019

Denny Solomona with England head coach Eddie Jones

Denny Solomona with England head coach Eddie Jones

Denny Solomona with England head coach Eddie Jones

Flanker Sam Underhill, who will become the 11th new cap on the tour, and fly-half or centre Piers Francis have glorious opportunities to push their claims for regular places in the England team, while Alex Lozowski, Denny Solomona and Mark Wilson will be hoping to see plenty of action from the bench after making their debuts in the first Test.

The teenage Curry twins, Ben and Sam, are unlucky to miss out this time but both have impressed Jones on and off the training park and look sure to figure in his long-term plans.

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 1 Lucas Noguera Paz, 2 Agustín Creevy, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 4 Matías Alemanno, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón.

16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Juan Martín Hernández, 23 Matías Moroni

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Harry Williams, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Charlie Ewels, 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Nathan Hughes.

16 Jack Singleton, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Will Collier, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Denny Solomona


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