- England coach Graham Rowntree primed for Pumas clash
- The best packs in the world have discipline – Rowntree
England scrum coach Graham Rowntree says facing down the powerful Argentinean scrum will be a key battle in his side’s opening Rugby World cup fixture in Dunedin on Saturday.
Former front-row Rowntree has firsthand experience against the Pumas, having played them twice in his 53-Test career and he knows that England could not have asked for a sterner opening challenge.
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“I played against them in the ’95 World Cup as a 24-year-old and that’s where you earn your stripes,” he said.
“They’ve got a lot of experience in that front row, but I’m sure that if they picked three 18-year-olds they’d have the same kind of mentality. But we’re ready for the challenge and looking forward to it.”
Rowntree added: “There’s a fine line between keeping a cool head and being charged up. So much power goes into these scrums and the tipping point is very fine, but the best packs in the world have discipline and can deal with that power. I’m hoping that we’ll be one of the teams.”
With a 17-13 split in favour of the forwards in the England squad, Rowntree says that it’s imperative to cover all eventualities, particularly with four physically demanding Pool games coming up.
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“We’re trying cover all potential injury problems we might have among the forward pack,” he said.
“But particularly with the five props – it’s such an important position and you have to cover any late illness or injuries in your match day squad.”
The Pumas named their team yesterday and veteran Clermont Auvergne hooker Mario Ledesma is set to join England’s Jonny Wilkinson in playing in his fourth World Cup.
Ledesma will pack down in a Pumas front row alongside Stade Francais prop Rodrigo Roncero and 23-year-old Montpellier tighthead Juan Figallo, who has been given the No. 3 jersey ahead of the more experienced Martin Scelzo.