England pounds Argentina in Pumas’ World Cup debut

Michael Cheika’s team will have to improve in just about every facet of the game if it hopes to advance to the quarterfinals.

This was not the 2023 Rugy World Cup debut the Pumas were hoping for.

The Argentine national team lost to England 27-10 in front of 65,000 people at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseilles on Saturday. It was the opening match for the tournament’s Group D.

In one of their worst performances in recent years, the Pumas were outclassed by England despite jumping out to a lead behind a penalty kick from Rosario’s Emiliano Boffeli from five meters out. 

The British fly-half George Ford had his way with Argentina, scoring all of the The Pink’s points, including 18 through penalties of 10, 46, 54, 59, 66 and 75 meters, and nine through three drops of 27, 31, and 37 meters.

Towards the end of the match, Rodrigo Bruni scored the Pumas’ only try, which Boffeli converted. England, the runner-up at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, played almost the entire match undermanned after Tom Curry was sent off for an illegal hit on Juan Cruz Mallía.

Argentina played poorly in just about every facet of the game, from fixed formations to ball handling, during a long afternoon in Marseilles. To advance to the quarterfinals, Australian Michael Cheika’s team will have to improve substantially on all of its lines after losing to an opponent that was missing key players, including its captain, Owen Farrell. 

England played with savvy, taking advantage of an error-prone Pumas team that never capitalized on its man advantage. The referees initially reprimanded Curry for his headbutt on Mallía but eventually ejected him after reviewing the play.

The Pumas looked organized over the first 20 minutes or so. But as the match progressed, England settled in with the help of Ford’s foot. The Pink set the tone early in the second half and maintained control from there on out with a stifling defense. 

Argentina looked confused on offense, and England was able to capitalize on its mistakes. The Pink have owned the Pumas in the World Cup, defeating their rivals 24-18, 13-9 and 39-10 in 1995, 2011, and 2019, respectively.

Argentina will play its next match against Samoa on Friday, September 22, at Geoffrey Guichard Stadium in Saint-Étienne. England will face Japan on Sunday, September 17, at Nice Stadium.

With information from Télam


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