Argentina loses to England yet again at Rugby World Cup

Argentina loses to England yet again at Rugby World Cup

Another Rugby World Cup match with England, another loss. Nothing seems to go right for Argentina when they meet.

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The 27-10 defeat at Stade Velodrome on Saturday was particularly humbling because Argentina was favored to win on form and didn’t fire a shot until the last-minute try to replacement Rodrigo Bruni.

The Pumas had the man advantage after only three minutes when England flanker Tom Curry’s yellow card was upgraded to red. England naturally thought it had to score in any way and quickly, and backup flyhalf George Ford slotted three first-half drop goals to inspire and instil belief. He added six more penalties and scored all of England’s points as Argentina caved under pressure.

“Pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Argentina coach Michael Cheika said.

The statistics bore him out. There were 13 penalties conceded, 15 turnovers, 11 handling errors and four throw-ins lost. A lot was self-inflicted.

England won the first World Cup matchup against Argentina in 1995 in Durban in a similar way. Rob Andrew kicked six penalties and two drop goals to cancel Argentina’s two tries.

Argentina led the next match in 2011 in Dunedin 9-3 on kicks — and missed six other penalty kicks — until England scored a late converted try and penalty to prevail 13-9. In 2019 in Tokyo, Tomas Lavanini was sent off early and Argentina collapsed.

The Pumas were thought to be better armed this time. They beat England at Twickenham last November, beat Australia in Sydney in July and ran South Africa close home and away. Cheika said before Saturday’s game the team was “pretty impatient to get going.” Nine of the starting 15 had World Cup experience.

The result was a huge setback in a Pool D from which only two of Argentina, England, Japan and Samoa will advance to the quarterfinals. Samoa is next in two weeks.

“The world is not over,” Cheika said. “We still have work to do to qualify. Our players will take a lot from this experience. We have many first-timers in World Cup games and they will take a lesson of how we need to be ready when the whistle blows.”