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Rugby World Cup: England's forgotten man George Ford's bottle, Steve Borthwick's red card concerns & peculiar Pumas

George Ford kicked England to a remarkable World Cup Pool D victory over Argentina in Marseille on Saturday; Below, we look at some of the talking points to come out of the game including the bottle of forgotten man Ford, Steve Borthwick's continued red card concerns and strange Argentina

Ford, Mitchell
Image: George Ford (left) was the star of the show for England, as he kicked them to an improbable, but comfortable, victory

We look at talking points in the wake of England's 27-10 Rugby World Cup win over Argentina including the bottle of forgotten man George Ford, continued red card concerns and the strangeness of Argentina's performance.

The boot of Ford proved pivotal as England posted a remarkable victory in Marseille, after the loss of Tom Curry to a third-minute red card.

Back-row Curry was red carded via World Rugby's bunker review system, as his yellow card for a head-on-head contact with Juan Cruz Mallia in a tackle was upgraded to red due to a lack of mitigation.

Ford landed three drop-goals and six penalties despite the disadvantage, though, with Michael Cheika's Pumas all over the shop in the face of a motivated England...

Ford the man of the moment, after period in exile

Before this summer, March 2021 was the last time Ford started in a Test match for England. Indeed, some brief cameos in the 2022 Six Nations aside, Ford had been a man seemingly kicked to the curb by his country.

Saturday in Marseille will go down as one of the high points in the 30-year-old's career without question, and will live long in the memory of many England fans too.

Image: Ford was out of the England fold not long ago, but enjoyed one of the nights of his career on Saturday

He kicked flawlessly, and did so to such an extent that England registered 27 points without ever troubling Argentina in their 22 with ball in hand. Put simply, they didn't need to, as they had a sharp shooter in Ford who punished each and every error the Pumas made.

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Two of his three drop-goals were also pieces of skill produced to the finest quality. The first, snapped from distance out of nowhere, sailed over the bar and gave England a surge of energy and belief despite the early loss of Curry.

Image: Ford's first drop-goal gave England a surge of confidence and belief

Ford's second drop-goal four minutes later was arguably even better, as he struck it from further out, virtually on halfway, and while retreating with the ball in his grasp. It was a magnificent piece of play.

To think Ford was starting tonight largely because Borthwick's skipper and main man Owen Farrell is out suspended due to his red card against Wales last month.

Farrell remains banned for England's next World Cup Pool D clash vs Japan on Saturday September 16, so Ford will take the wheel again, and will do so filled with confidence. What does Borthwick do when both are available?

Image: The 30-year-old kicked magnificently at the Stade Velodrome

Yet another England red card

Four weeks ago at Twickenham, England skipper Farrell caught Wales flanker Taine Basham direct to the face with a high tackle, using a technique that has got him into bother previously, and was shown a red card.

Three weeks ago in Dublin, England No 8 Billy Vunipola was dismissed for a shoulder-to-head tackle on Ireland prop Andrew Porter, in which he made no attempt to wrap his arm.

Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola
Image: Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola are currently serving suspensions for red cards in August

On Saturday in Marseille, in an opening World Cup clash, returning England flanker Curry was red carded for a high tackle incident with Cruz Mallia, and will now face a ban through the tournament.

Ford and England managed the game superbly to win with 14 players at the Stade Velodrome, but the side's propensity to lose players will ultimately prove disastrous.

Go down a player facing the likes of France, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand, and it would almost certainly be curtains, irrespective of how hard the remaining 14 on the park work.

Image: Tom Curry was red carded early for a head-on-head tackle on Juan Cruz Mallia

Despite the joy and high of success against the odds in Marseille, Borthwick, Kevin Sinfield and co will continue to be concerned.

A peculiar performance where Argentina succeeded in no aspect

Many were fancying Argentina to beat England even before Curry's red card. They were in better form, got the better of England at Twickenham in November last year, and have played the better stuff.

England have lost to Wales and Fiji in recent weeks, off the back of a Six Nations in which they finished fourth, while Argentina have won in Australia and New Zealand over the last year, and pushed South Africa to within a point in a Test they should have won in July.

When Curry was dismissed, even the Pumas players themselves must have believed they were odds on.

Image: Michael Cheika's Argentina were peculiarly poor with a man advantage in Marseille

After Emiliano Boffelli landed his first penalty though, a series of things went against the Pumas: Boffelli missed his next penalty, Santiago Carreras was sin-binned, Thomas Gallo had a potential try ruled out, and another key attacking passage ended with the concession of a breakdown penalty virtually on top of the England try-line, after a gimme penalty shot had been turned down.

The latter incident was in the 23rd minute, not long before Ford struck three drop-goals. The stats for the rest of the game are somewhat ridiculous, with Argentina virtually producing nothing positive, despite playing with an extra man.

They conceded 13 penalties, four free-kicks, four lost lineouts, 12 missed tackles, knock-ons galore and had a faltering scrum. Their attack was awful, and poor discipline meant their defence was worthless.

Whatever confidence Argentina entered the tournament with, this will take some patching up.

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