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Replacement Youngs hands England narrow win

10 September 2011

  • Scrum half Ben Youngs steps off the bench to hand England narrow victory
  • Martin Johnson’s side came from 9-3 down with 13 minutes to play

Argentina 9 England 13

Ben Youngs touches down for England

Photo: Getty Images

Replacement scrum half Ben Youngs scored a fine opportunist try late on to hand England a narrow victory in their Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool B opener against Argentina.

The Leicester Tigers man took advantage of some quick ball to dart over in the 67th minute after a spell of pressure close to the line, breaking Argentina’s stubborn resistance and giving England the lead for the first time in the game.

A breathless first half was all about big hits and penalties with England conceding eight to Argentina’s four, as the Puma dominated at the contact area. Fly half and captain Felipe Contepomi and full back Martin Rodriguez each slotted one for the Pumas, with Jonny Wilkinson replying for England.

Countless penalty chances were missed by both Wilkinson and Rodriguez before the Stade Francais man kicked Argentina into a 9-3 lead, but Youngs’ decisive intervention in the second half proved vital.

Contepomi was forced to leave the field in the first half, causing the Argentineans to re-shuffle, but in truth they never looked flustered and continued to cause England problems.

Ben Foden bursts forward

Photo: Getty Images

England had their moments in attack with Ben Foden looking particularly lively – and the full-back came agonisingly close to releasing Delon Armitage mid-way through the first half, only for the pass to full short. Armitage recovered well for England to win the penalty – but Wilkinson missed his shot at goal.

Manu Tuilagi also looked a handful with the limited ball he got but England's ill-discipline finally cost them when Dan Cole was binned on 34 minutes for hands in the ruck. Rodriguez couldn't take advantage, though, as his penalty went wide.

Argentina's best moment came with two minutes of the half left, as Mario Ledesma almost forced his way over in the corner only for the defence to recover.

The Pumas carried on from where they left off in the second half, with Foden having to make a crucial tackle on Rodriguez – while Richard Wrigglesworth denied Juan Jose Imhoff in the corner.

Argentina line up another attack

Photo: Getty Images

Courtney Lawes was back to his imposing best, displaying the kind of form that saw him crowned Investec Man of the Series back in November.

Both sides were guilty of missing further shots at goal, with Wilkinson off-target three times and Rodriguez seeing two go wide.

But in what was just the 16th meeting between the two nations, England fans finally had something to cheer when replacement scrum-half Youngs, who looked impressive after coming on for Wrigglesworth, scooted through a gap to score - with the Leicester man utilising quick ball.

Wilkinson added the conversion but he missed yet another penalty in one of his most inconsistent kicking displays for some time.

England centre Manu Tuilagi takes the ball into contact against Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2011

Photo: Getty Images

The Toulon man did finally get one over - making it three from eight - to give England some breathing space with five minutes left.

That seemed to give England a lift as they finished strongly, with Armitage denied in the corner.

However in one final flourish Argentina went for broke and Tuilagi appeared to take Imhoff off the ball as he chipped over the top, but referee Bryce Lawrence allowed play to continue and England survived, moving to second in Pool B on four points, behind Scotland on five.