Monday 25 September 2017

England's young bloods seize chance in rout of Pumas

England's holidaying absentees have been warned that they face a battle to regain their Test places after Stuart Lancaster's young guns made the most of their opportunity in a 32-3 victory over Argentina.

England's holidaying absentees have been warned that they face a battle to regain their Test places after Stuart Lancaster's young guns made the most of their opportunity in a 32-3 victory over Argentina.

Christian Wade and Matt Kvesic enjoyed impressive debuts on Saturday as they took over on the wing and at openside flanker from Chris Ashton and Chris Robshaw, who have both been rested this summer.

Billy Twelvetrees played with authority at inside-centre – his performance will put pressure on Brad Barritt when a full-strength England squad reconvenes for the autumn internationals.

One of Lancaster's stated aims on the tour of Argentina is to build competition for places and strengthen his selection options leading into the 2015 World Cup. His players are responding.

Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan said: "We have got a lot of young lads and new people coming in who have been given an opportunity to put their marker down and stake a claim for the shirt. We want a competitive environment as a team because that is going to drive us towards our goal of the World Cup."

Morgan had a hand in the first two tries, scored by David Strettle and Twelvetrees, before crashing over for the third try himself as England stormed into a 25-0 lead against the weakened Pumas.

No England side has ever won a Test series in Argentina with a clean sweep; that is now the challenge that awaits this team in Buenos Aires next weekend.

Meanwhile, Wales winger Liam Williams expects the debutants in Saturday's narrow victory over Japan to have gained far more from their experience than they would have from a comfortable win. Seven new caps appeared in the 22-18 triumph in Osaka and Williams said: "You learn more from hard games like that when you're under pressure, away from home and playing in those conditions, than a 60-point win. That experience will stand everyone in good stead."

Scotland suffered their first ever defeat to Samoa in the opening match of the quadrangular tournament in Durban, going down 27-17. They face hosts South Africa on Saturday, and coach Scott Johnson said: "We have to get better."

Fifteen Scottish players needed medical treatment after the match, with one already heading home for further tests and another five not certain to take part in the remaining tour fixtures. The worst damage was sustained by debutant hooker Pat MacArthur, who hurt his knee only two minutes into the game.

The sheer scale of the physical damage to the team comes as a serious blow to the Scots since they have some hefty rebuilding to do after the dispiriting defeat by the Pacific Islanders.

The injuries are also likely to prevent Scotland training with the intensity they appeared to require while they were being bullied out of the game by the robust and dynamic Samoans.

Irish Independent

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