Rugby Club panel discuss England and pick out Argentina's danger men

Last Updated: 08/11/13 1:01pm

England kicked off their autumn with a 20-13 win against Australia and will now take on Argentina on Saturday before facing world champions New Zealand a week later.

It was a sputtering display from England against the Wallabies, but they showed great maturity and mental strength to bounce back in the second half.

While their attacking prowess did not exactly come to the fore, England's defence and speed at the breakdown was excellent which bodes well going forward.

That dynamism in defence is needed in attack, too, and Stuart Barnes told The Rugby Club that England really need to step up their performance.

"This is a game that England should be looking to win and win well," he said. "This is a game where the performance and the result should dovetail.

"Argentina were playing the best teams in the world week after week in the Rugby Championship but by the end of the season they looked like they were in real distress.


"Out of all the teams in the world, they are the team who rely on one talisman - Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe. Without him at Twickenham and off the back of a horrible result last time out against Australia, they are there for the beating.

"Stuart Lancaster has to say the right things and that they respect Argentina but it is time that England put their foot on the accelerator and won a game convincingly.

"If England replaced Argentina in the Rugby Championship I would be upset if they did not win two games - they should beat Australia home and away.

"If it is tight and edgy then it plays into Argentina's hands - they thrive on scraps, on loose pieces of procession."

Will Greenwood

"England were poor last week and that is why this game is not just about the result - they need to pick up the quality of their performances and start targeting South Africa and New Zealand.

"Lancaster should demand that his side are a lot better on Saturday; he is not trying to build a team that will be solid in Europe, they are trying to build a team that can go all the way in the 2015 World Cup.

"We know how powerful and committed Argentina are in the scrum, and we know how they gamble at the breakdown, but if England are smart at the breakdown and with Argentina throwing number in, then England could rack up a lot of points."


If Argentina want to spoil the Twickenham party then they have to rule the breakdown and Barnes has picked two men who will be crucial in that area for the Pumas.

"Juan Manuel Leguizamón is a different player when he puts on the Argentina shirt then a when he plays club rugby," said Barnes.

"He carries well over the gain line and we saw England struggle with momentum against Australia in the first half because they could not get over the gain line.

"Pablo Matera, who has just signed for Leicester, is another very good ball carrier. However, these two do seem a little bit isolated and it they do not get on the front foot then they will struggle.

"Nicolas Sanchez is a front foot player, too; he likes to play and take chances - but he takes those chances when they are going backwards too which is really bad for them.

"So Matera and Leguizamón really need to win the gain line for Argentina."


Will Greenwood says that Argentina may have lost their skipper and playmaker in Juan Martín Hernández, as well as changed coaches, but there is still enough talent there to cause England problems.

"It's a tough ask to join the Rugby Championship," said Greenwood. "They clearly wanted to play more international rugby but they have lost 12 out of 12 and mentally it really take its toll.

"However, I still see enough strength and physical prowess in this side to cause problems if England are not precise. They are physically tough men and very proud.

"Early on you have to give them nothing, if it is tight and edgy then it plays into the Pumas' hands - they thrive on scraps, on loose pieces of procession; they are elbows and knees, they are at you and in your face and then it becomes a very difficult afternoon.

"England did really well in closing down the likes of Israel Folau and Argentina may not have the stellar names but England have to close down the likes of Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino who is never afraid to come back at you. I really rate Juan Imhoff, too - he glides, floats and finds space.

"They do have their threats but the problem they have is putting all those threats together in a cohesive unit for the full 80 minutes and we have not seen enough of that this year."