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Argentina in Salta: tale of the tape

09 June 2013

  • Matt Kvesic makes 29 tackles on England Test debut in Salta
  • England did not concede a point from 3:55 of defending in own 22
England No.8 Ben Morgan looks to offload against Argentina in Salta

Photo: Getty Images

The score line is the only statistic that matters, evidenced by England’s delight after the four-try, 32-3 victory over Argentina at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Salta. But more detailed analysis can also provide a view on the game so RFU.com called on the unique insight of the people who supply the England coaches with in-game data, analysts Duncan Locke and Kate Burke, to see what other stories the match stats have to tell.

This is what they had to say:

“As reflected on the scoreboard, there were two differing halves from England in Salta, with Stuart Lancaster’s team impressing in attack in the first half and defence in the second. And England’s young team – with five first Test caps across the 80 minutes and three more first Test starters – racked up some impressive individual numbers.

The ball was in play for 35 minutes, 27 seconds and overall the possession was even – Argentina just edging England with 51 per cent of the ball. England’s display was notable for running, attacking rugby: 12 line breaks; 24 successful offloads to only two unsuccessful offloads; and nine visits to Argentina’s 22 or “Red Zone” in broken field play, which resulted in three tries.

Central to that attacking performance were Gloucester Rugby pair Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan, who excelled with ball in hand. Centre Twelvetrees was top carrier with 15, taking 12 of them over the gain line and making three line breaks, while No.8 Morgan made 11 carries, taking 10 over the advantage line and achieving two clean breaks.

Billy Vunipola on the charge against Argentina in Salta

Photo: Getty Images

Christian Wade was clinical with his work in attack, only carrying the ball six times but taking four of them over the gain line, making two line breaks and delivering scoring passes for both Twelvetrees’ and Morgan’s tries.

Billy Vunipola came off the bench to get last-gasp try and scattered Argentineans around, taking four of his five carries over the gain line.

With home side upping the intensity in the second half and England making some errors, solid defence was required. The Pumas spent nearly four minutes (3:55) in England’s 22 but they did not score a single point from the duration of those visits.

Also, although there was some carelessness in possession from the home team, England’s aggressive line-speed in defence played a part in forcing 23 turnovers, which became the chief source of possession at 30 per cent.

On his Test debut, Matt Kvesic was a relentless presence, making a phenomenal 29 tackles. The 21 year old also hit 17 breakdowns and made seven carries, meaning he averaged a significant game involvement every 90 seconds of the 80 minutes or every 40 seconds of the time the ball was in play.

England flanker Matt Kvesic, who made 29 tackles on Test debut vs Argentina

Photo: Getty Images

Lock Joe Launchbury made 17 tackles with fly half Freddie Burns just behind on 16. Launchbury also attended the most rucks (26) ahead of captain Tom Wood (22) and prop David Wilson (17). In the backs, outside centre Jonathan Joseph hit the most breakdowns (13), supporting the carrying done by inside centre Twelvetrees.

Seven of the team had 100 per cent tackle success rate, with only two line breaks conceded and two tries resulting from defensive turnovers.

England did concede their highest penalty count of the season (15), with nine in the second half and seven at the breakdown, which will be a work on for the team ahead of the second Test on Saturday.

We won seven of 10 line outs, with Launchbury taking four, and six of eight scrums. Overall the scrum was a success, winning two penalties and a free kick on our ball and not conceding a penalty or free kick from 10 Pumas put-ins.”