- Tries for Strettle, Twelvetrees, Morgan and Vunipola in Salta
- Wing Wade to the fore with three first-half assists
Argentina 3 England 32
Debutant wing Christian Wade laid on three first-half tries as England defeated Argentina 32-3 in the first Test in Salta.
Exhibiting the speed, agility and timing which has lit up the Aviva Premiership this season, the 22-year-old London Wasps man created tries for David Strettle, Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan as the visitors surged into a 25-0 lead.
On the back on a dominant performance from the pack, Gloucester Rugby pair Morgan and Twelvetrees made outstanding contributions, with fellow domestic teammate Freddie Burns augmenting an assured all-round display with five from six kicks attempted.
While the hosts surged back in territory and possession terms in the second period, Stuart Lancaster will be delighted with the solidity and organisation of his defence, with replacement Billy Vunipola adding some gloss to the score line with a last-gasp try.
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Lancaster handed Test debuts to Wade and open-side flanker Kvesic, with three more – hooker Rob Webber, lock Dave Attwood and fly half Burns – making their first starts. But there was no sign of inexperience holding England back from the off.
There were two survivors from the last game here in 2009 – a 24-22 victory for the hosts – in England prop David Wilson and Argentina centre Gonzalo Tiesi. And Wilson was straight into the action with the England eight shunting their opposite numbers back to win a penalty on eight minutes.
Burns confidently fired the resulting penalty through the uprights and after Argentina conceded another on half way a minute later, the Aviva Premiership leading points-scorer making the score 6-0.
The fast surface at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena looked suited to the lightening footwork of Wade and he showed all his quality by laying on three tries for England with his first three real involvements in the game.
Burns booted the ball clear after Argentina were turned over deep in England’s 22 and after Attwood stole the line out, Wade raced between three defenders for a smooth line-break. When he was eventually hauled down, the ball was recycled to Jonathan Joseph, who offloaded for David Strettle to evade the last defender and stretch over.
Burns struck the upright with the conversion – the only blemish in an accomplished opening 40 minutes – before Wade again showed his quality on 26. With England’s pack firmly on top, Billy Twelvetrees was the beneficiary as the visitors scored a fine try.
No.8 Ben Morgan, who was a powerful presence throughout, was hauled down short of the line after taking Twelvetrees’ pass and when the ball was recycled, Wade stood up his defender and popped a perfectly-weighted offload to leave the Gloucester man with the simple task on trotting over.
And Morgan soon showed the unforgivingly brutal side to his game with the third just six minutes later, collecting a sharp pass from Wade after neat hands from Joe Launchbury and Twelvetrees and running over the cover of two would-be tacklers. Burns converted both from far wide right to make the score 25-0 just after the half hour mark.
Argentina got themselves on the scoreboard with the last kick of the half, full back Martin Bustos Moyano putting a penalty through the uprights. But the same player missed two presentable chances to trim the deficit in the opening moments of the second half, meaning England retained their 22 point advantage.
And it was so close to being more early in the second half after a smooth break from Twelvetrees, who was everywhere, doing everything. England broke 80 metres up the field through Morgan and Twelvetrees but when the ball was moved on to Joseph, he was caught in two minds of going himself and offloading to Strettle. Unfortnately, that indecision brought the thrilling move to an end.
Twelvetrees was denied after a forward pass from scrum half Lee Dickson sent him in under the posts soon after before Argentina came back into the game, but without troubling the scorers.
Photo: Getty Images
As England's penalty count soared to 15, the hosts spent long spells camped in England’s half – especially after replacement lock Courtney Lawes was sent to the sin bin for being off his feet after a quick succession of team infringements – but did not come close to scoring, the commitment and organisation shining through from the Paul Gustard-managed defence.
Lancaster took the chance to hand Test bows to Eastmond, Vunipola and Thomas off the bench and London Wasps’ Vunipola grabbed England’s fourth try at the death. The 120kg No.8 picked up at the base of a scrum and powered through three attempted tackles to dot down.
Burns converted to make the final score 32-3. England now travel to Buenos Aires for the second Test on Saturday, June 15, with the chance to win back-to-back Tests in Argentina for the first time in history.
Argentina vs England teams
Argentina: Bustos Moyano, Orlando, Tiesi, Contepomi, Montero,Urdapilleta, Landajo, Henn, Garcia Veiga, Bustos, Lozada, Galarza, Farias Cabello, Macome, Leonardi.
Replacements: Agulla for Orlando (58), Ascarate for Urdapilleta (58), Vergallo for Landajo (68), Roan for Henn (51), Guidone for Garcia Veiga (55), Gomez Kodela for Bustos (67), Vallejos for Lozada (62), De la Vega for Farias Cabello (72).
England: Brown, Wade, Joseph, Twelvetrees, Strettle, Burns, Dickson, Marler, Webber, Wilson, Launchbury, Attwood, Wood, Kvesic, Morgan.
Replacements: Foden for Brown (68), Eastmond for Joseph (66), Wigglesworth for Dickson (54), H. Thomas for Marler (75), Paice for Webber (68), Doran-Jones for Wilson (73), Lawes for Attwood (54), Vunipola for Morgan (68).
Sin Bin: Lawes (69).
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand).