England 29-30 Argentina: Pumas get famous win at Twickenham

Gloucester’s Santiago Carreras scored the second try in what proved to be a decisive one-two punch
England (16) 29
Attempts: Cokanasiga, Van Poortvliet Pens: Farrell (5) Cons: Farrell (2)
Argentina (12) 30
Attempts: Boffelli, Racing Pens: Boffelli (6) Cons: Boffelli (2)

England started their autumn campaign on a high note as Argentina stunned an 80,000 strong Twickenham crowd with a gutsy and deserved victory.

England led 16-12 at the break, but Emiliano Boffelli and Santiago Carreras crossed in quick succession to turn the game around.

Substitute Jack van Poortvliet scored to repair some damage, but Boffelli’s boot was decisive in the closing stages.

It is only Argentina’s second away win after their success against England in 2006.

It is the latest win of the season for the Pumas, following their first win away to New Zealand earlier this year.

But Argentina still finished bottom of the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship and were expected to ease off in a month that ends with games against England’s All Blacks and world champions South Africa.

England manager Eddie Jones watched from the big screen as his team’s increasingly desperate attempts to salvage victory came to naught.

When substitute Henry Slade stepped forward to end England’s move in midfield, Argentina’s bench shot to the sky in celebration.

The next two teams will meet in September in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup pool.

England missing on a wet pitch

The saturated pitch at Twickenham was no platform for running rugby and in the opening exchanges Jones’ ‘New England’ fell to their old strengths.

Openings were few and far between and handling errors abounded before the power of Joe Cokanasiga – a real difference between England’s three options – opened up a tight Puma defense on 25 minutes.

The Bath wing rose to Ben Youngs’ inside pass in the 25th minute, rising from Jeronimo de le Fuente’s cross and turning Juan Martin Gonzalez’s shot to touch the ball home.

England couldn’t break free though. Boffelli’s boot had the Pumas within a point at 13-12 before England’s front row crumpled their counterparts to award Farrell a penalty with the final act of the half.

England’s four-point lead was whittled away from under four in the second half.

First, Matias Moroni’s backpass wrong-footed England’s defence, leaving Steward and Boffelli to race to the edge.

Soon after Owen Farrell’s pass went to ground Thomas Gallo put the heat on the England captain. Argentina fly-half Santiago Carreras rose and, showing all the pace he had put into the Gloucester wing, slotted home from 50 yards.

Referee Andrew Brace called for a review of Gallo’s hit on Farrell, but replays failed to detect a hit from Gallo when Farrell picked off his pass and the score stood.

Argentina led 24-16 and danger transformed a calm Twickenham.

The increased volume brought more urgency and England produced a quick counter as substitute Van Poortvliet, 29 seconds into the game, slotted through and slid under the sticks.

Farrell’s late penalty put England ahead 26-24 again. Boffelli got it back with a shot of his own three minutes later. Farrell answered once more.

But the man from Edinburgh had the last word as England ran out of energy and ideas.

Argentina’s final victory at Twickenham saw them sack England manager Andy Robinson, hire Brian Ashton and reach the Rugby World Cup final a year later.

No similar change of leadership will befall Eddie Jones, who is still England’s most successful manager by winning percentage.

But the Australian will know things need to improve before he takes on his old friend and Argentina coach Michael Cheika again in Marseille in 10 months’ time.

The eleven

England: Caretaker; Nowell, Tuilagi, Farrell (c), Cokanasiga; Smith, Young; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler, Coles, Hill, Itoje, Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Singleton, M Vunipola, Heyes, Ribbans, Simmonds, Willis, Van Poortvliet, Slade

Argentina: Mallia; M Carreras, Moroni, De la Fuente, Boffelli; S Carreras, Bertranou; Gallo, Montoya, Gomez Kodela, Alemanno, Lavanini, Gonzalez, Kremer, Matera.

Replacements: Ruiz, Tetaz Chaparro, Bello, Paulos, Isa, Morales, Talbornoz, Morlando.