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Rugby World Cup | Group Stage
Sep 9, 2023 at 8pm UK
Bruni (79')

Preview: England vs. Argentina - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Rugby World Cup clash between England and Argentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The final match of the day in the 2023 Rugby World Cup will come from Pool D, with England facing off against Argentina at Stade Velodrome on Saturday evening.

England will be hoping to bounce back from a shocking 30-22 loss to Fiji two weeks ago, while Argentina secured a lopsided 62-3 win over Spain on the same day.

Match preview

England's Freddie Steward and Max Malins look dejected after the match on August 26, 2023© Reuters

Following that humbling defeat to Fiji last month, it is fair to say that England are no better off at this moment than they were before sacking previous coach Eddie Jones at the end of last year.

Under the guidance of Steve Borthwick, England only managed to secure fourth place in the Six Nations with a total of 10 points, marking one of the national team's least successful campaigns in the tournament.

They kicked off that competition by losing the Calcutta Cup 29-23 at Twickenham Stadium and were only able to beat Italy 31-14 and Wales 20-10 in that tournament, although both victories were far from impressive.

Unfortunately for the English, their poor form did not end with the Six Nations as their warm-up fixtures were arguably a cause for even greater concern as they were beaten by Wales, Ireland and Fiji in the space of four matches.

However, while England are a long way from the fearsome team they were when they won the title back in 2003, they have been drawn into what many describe as the most favourable pool in the competition, and a win here could set them up perfectly for the remainder of the tournament with four very winnable fixtures to come.

Argentina's Julian Montoya is pictured with a bloodied face during the match on July 29, 2023© Reuters

Meanwhile, the fact that Argentina come into this encounter as the favourite tells us everything we need to know about how they have improved over the last 12 months.

Los Pumas suffered a heavy defeat against the All Blacks at the 2023 Rugby Championship earlier in the year but put on an incredible display a week later to earn a famous 34-31 victory over Australia in Sydney.

With that win, they also handed over the tournament's wooden spoon for the first time in the last six years and came very close to upsetting the Springboks in the final match of the competition, losing by just one point.

Since then, Michael Cheika's side were beaten once more by South Africa in Buenos Aires before thrashing Spain 62-3, which would have given them a nice little boost of confidence ahead of their opening World Cup match.

Argentina recorded their best-ever finish in a World Cup here in France back in 2007 when they came third, and as one of the sides on an upward trajectory and in a favourable pool, Los Pumas have an excellent chance to go deep in this tournament.

England form (all competitions):

  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Argentina form (all competitions):

  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

England head coach Steve Borthwick during training on August 25, 2023© Reuters

Owing to injuries, Borthwick has recalled Alex Mitchell and Jonny May to the side, and the pair will start this match with Jack van Poortvliet ruled out through injury.

Owen Farrell is set to miss the first two matches after receiving a red card against Wales last month, while Billy Vunipola saw red against Ireland and will also have to sit this one out, although he will be available for selection against Japan.

Ben Earl has been selected to fill in for Vunipola in the number eight jersey, while Courtney Lawes will take on the captaincy responsibilities in the absence of Farrell.

For Los Pumas, Thomas Gallo, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Santiago Chocobares, Lucio Cinti and Mateo Carreras are all making their debut starts in the Rugby World Cup.

Leicester Tigres hooker Julian Montoya will skipper the Argentines, with the experienced Emiliano Boffelli and Juan Cruz Mallia making up the back three with Carreras.

England starting lineup: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Jonny May, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. George Ford, 9. Alex Mitchell, 8. Ben Earl, 7. Tom Curry, 6. Courtney Lawes (c), 5. Ollie Chessum, 4. Maro Itoje, 3. Dan Cole, 2. Jamie George, 1. Ellis Genge

Replacements: 16. Theo Dan, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Will Stuart, 19. George Martin, 20. Lewis Ludlam, 21. Danny Care, 22. Marcus Smith, 23. Ollie Lawrence

Argentina starting lineup: 15. Juan Cruz Mallia, 14. Emiliano Boffelli, 13. Lucio Cinti, 12. Santiago Chocobares, 11. Mateo Carreras, 10. Santiago Carreras, 9. Gonzalo Bertranou, 8. Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7. Marcos Kremer, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Tomas Lavanini, 4. Matias Alemanno, 3. Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2. Julian Montoya (c), 1. Thomas Gallo

Replacements: 16. Augustin Creevy, 17. Joel Sclavi, 18. Eduardo Bello, 19. Guido Petti, 20. Pedro Rubiolo, 21. Rodrigo Bruni, 22. Lautaro Bazan Velez, 23. Matias Moroni

Head To Head

Since 1978, England and Argentina have engaged 25 matches that are officially recognized as Tests by both teams. Their first encounter took place in 1981, resulting in a 19-19 draw. In their 25 confrontations, England has emerged victorious 19 times, while Argentina secured victory in five matches, and one match ended in a draw.

This World Cup fixture will mark the fourth occasion that these two sides have clashed on the grand stage. England have triumphed in all three previous meetings: first in 1995 with a score of 24-18, then in 2011 with a narrow 13-9 win, and most recently in 2019 when they secured a convincing 39-10 victory.

SM words green background

We say: England 20-21 Argentina

This has the makings of a World Cup classic that could be separated by the finest of margins. England are not in a good space at the moment and are missing key personnel, which could give Los Pumas the edge.

We are going with Argentina to pull off a slender win in this one.

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