England, the 2019 Rugby World Cup finalists, are set to kick off their 2023 World Cup campaign with a challenging encounter against a confident Argentina side. The stakes are high as both teams aim to secure a spot in the knockout phase of the competition.
Match Date: Saturday, 9 September
Venue: Stade de Marseille (Capacity: 67,847)
Kick-off Time: 21:00 local time (GMT+2)
Historical Dominance: England boasts a favorable history against Argentina in the Rugby World Cup, having won all three of their previous encounters. Their most recent clash, four years ago in Japan, ended in a convincing 39-10 victory for England. However, Argentina turned the tables in their last meeting last November, defeating England, which has added to the intrigue of their upcoming battle.
The first match between an England XV and Argentina took place in 1978, but the first officially capped test match between the two sides occurred in 1981. In the 42 years since then, they have faced each other 25 times, including three Rugby World Cup matchups. England holds the edge with 19 victories compared to Argentina’s five, and their very first encounter ended in a 19-19 draw.
In November 2006, Los Pumas achieved their first-ever win over England outside of Argentina. This significant result marked the end of Andy Robinson’s tenure as England’s head coach. Last November, Argentina added to their list of accomplishments with a dramatic 30-29 victory at a rain-soaked Twickenham. England held a 16-12 lead at halftime, but Emiliano Boffelli and the player of the match, Santiago Carreras, turned the game around with quick tries.
Key Talking Point
England enters the 2023 World Cup after a less-than-stellar record of just three wins in nine matches under Steve Borthwick’s leadership, including a historic defeat against Fiji. Despite the criticism, Borthwick remains confident in his squad’s potential to perform well in the tournament. An opening-round victory against their formidable Pool D rivals could silence some doubters, but the question remains: Is Borthwick’s optimism justified?
A crucial matchup to watch is between George Ford and Santiago Carreras. Both Premiership fly-halves, Ford from Sale Sharks and Carreras from Gloucester Rugby, will go head-to-head on the grandest stage in rugby. Carreras, often listed as either a fly-half (10) or fullback (15), may hold an advantage in this contest. The question lingers: Did coach Michael Cheika make the right choice?
Coach Cheika has put his faith in experience for this tournament. Among his 33-player squad is hooker Agustín Creevy, aged 38, who holds the distinction of being Los Pumas’ first-ever test centurion. Creevy and Nicolás Sánchez, though not in the matchday 23 for the opener, are entering their fourth Rugby World Cup. Ten other members of the 33-man Argentina squad are participating in their third World Cup.
The referee for this matchup is Mathieu Raynal from France. As a former promising rugby player, Raynal achieved success in his youth, winning the French junior championship with Perpignan in 1998. Now, he takes on the role of officiating on the world stage.
- Starting XV: Freddie Steward; Jonny May, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum; Courtney Lawes (captain), Tom Curry, Ben Earl
- Replacements: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, George Martin, Lewis Ludlam, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence
- Starting XV: Juan Cruz Mallia; Emiliano Boffelli, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Chocobares, Mateo Carreras; Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou; Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya (captain), Francisco Gómez Kodela; Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini; Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez
- Replacements: Agustín Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti, Pedro Rubiolo, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Matías Moroni
Stay tuned for what promises to be a thrilling encounter between England and Argentina at the Rugby World Cup 2023.