England 21-8 Argentina: Hosts secure hard-fought win at Twickenham
Last Updated: 12/11/17 8:19am
England started their next phase towards the 2019 World Cup with an error-strewn 21-8 win over Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.
The win means England have won all 11 of their home games under Eddie Jones but will know they will have to step up if they are to retain that record when they host Australia next Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Argentina offered little in attack but also missed three penalties and a conversion which would have made it a lot more testing for England if they had landed those. Jones would have been disappointed that England could not get more than the two tries through Nathan Hughes and Semesa Rokoduguni as they failed to finish several opportunities.
George Ford also converted one conversion and three penalties with Argentina's points coming from the boot of winger Emiliano Boffelli and a late try from Nicolas Sanchez.
The game failed to really get going with both sides making far too many mistakes and neither team able to play with pace or string any real phases together.
George Ford gave England an early lead before winger Boffelli stepped up to make it all square.
Ford made it 6-3 with another penalty before Argentina went down to 14 men. Pumas full-back Joaquin Tuculet was sent to the sin-bin after he was adjudged to have taken out Mike Brown in the air while competing for a high ball.
Hughes scored his first try for England after Ford floated a superb pass to the No 8 out on the wing, who showed his power and pace to go over. Ford could not add the conversion but converted his third penalty of the match to put England 14-3 up at the break.
Both sides were scrappy in the opening of the second half before the game sparked into life with 15 minutes to go.
Replacement centre Alex Lozowski sliced through the Pumas midfield and England finally put some phases together with Rokoduguni going over in the corner. After a quick check with the TMO to see if Slade's final pass was forward, the try was given and Ford's conversion gave them a 21-3 lead.
Argentina hit back with a late try when Sanchez went over in the corner but it was too little too late as another missed conversion summed up a disappointing afternoon for the visitors.
Turning point: England were always favourite to win this game but when Argentina went down to 14 men, the hosts scored their first try. It looked a harsh call when Tuculet was shown a yellow as he challenged for a high ball with Brown, but by the letter of the law he was lucky not to have seen red after Brown landed heavily on his head. Brown did not return to the field after leaving from a Head injury Assessment and was replaced by Semesa Rokoduguni who moved to the wing with Anthony Watson at full-back.
Moment of the match: Lozowski tore through the Argentina defence to awaken the Twickenham crowd from their slumber and spark the move which led to Rokoduguni's score from Slade's long pass.
Who was man of the match?
Tweet of the game
England captain Dylan Hartley admitted there was plenty to work on after Saturday's scruffy triumph at Twickenham.
"Ball in hand, I think we just need to get in the right areas of the field and then treasure the ball," Hartley told Sky Sports straight after the game.
"Too many times the ball ended up in touch, the ball was a bit greasy, knocked it on. Ball retention is certainly something to focus on going forward.
"We certainly need to go up a level. In terms of the team, it's the start of our international season. The team coming together, gelling... we were a little bit rusty. We're going to have to work hard and get better for next week."
Sir Clive Woodward said in the studio that Saturday's win for England puts their defeat to Ireland in the Six Nations to bed.
"England have got great momentum now, that puts the Ireland defeat behind them," said Woodward, who was asked what he would say to the team if he was coach.
"I'd have two minutes saying well done, then I'd say 'Let's be very clear, we have to be much, much better than that - especially at Twickenham.'"