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LionsWatch: England bid to maintain their unbeaten streak

LionsWatch: England bid to maintain their unbeaten streak

It’s 11 Tests down and two more to go for Eddie Jones’ revitalised England if they are to complete an historic unbeaten year.

"They play a really good game of rugby now, long-gone are the days of high kicking and chase."

It’s 11 Tests down and two more to go for Eddie Jones’ revitalised England if they are to complete an historic unbeaten year.

But a tricky Argentina side will be looking to spoil the party at Twickenham, having given both Vern Cotter’s Scotland and Rob Howley’s Wales plenty of food for thought in recent weeks.

The Red Rose line-up is awash with players making their presence felt in terms of selection for The British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand next summer.

But while 2005 Lion Lewis Moody believes England are yet to even hit full stride, he is wary of the Pumas.

“I think England are in third gear at the minute, which is good to say given they beat Fiji and South Africa,” he said.

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“I think the interesting thing is that South Africa drew with the Barbarians and lost to Italy. When you look at these results you think the England performances were substantial.

“The banana skin for England may be against Argentina. If they can get out of this game, then they can get to the game against Australia believing they can get a real clean sweep.

“They play a really good game of rugby now, long-gone are the days of high kicking and chase.

“They play good rugby and exciting rugby driven by forward play and dominance, it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with it, I think they will.”
 
TEAM NEWS

Jones has already shown he is a coach who is not afraid to ring the changes, and despite a record-breaking win over the flying Fijians last weekend, four men will make way on Saturday.

Jonny May is preferred to last week’s man-of-the-match Semesa Rokoduguni, while regular full-back option Mike Brown is in for Alex Goode and George Kruis makes his return from injury in place of the banned Joe Launchbury.

Back from injury and raring to go ?@GeorgeKruis ready for a "brutal challenge" v @lospumas tomorrow at Twickenham: https://t.co/BdlKVAUu83 pic.twitter.com/IkhnmJUFwC

— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 25, 2016

And back-rower Tom Wood has also been brought in from the cold to edge out Teimana Harrison.

Meanwhile for Argentina, Leonardo Senatore replaces Facundo Isa at No.8 in one of three changes made from the side that lost out in Scotland last week to Greig Laidlaw’s last-gasp penalty.

Scrum-half Martin Landajo drops to the bench with Tomas Cubelli preferred, while Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias also comes in at centre alongside Matias Moroni – with the injury to Nicolas Sanchez seeing Juan Martin Hernandez handed the No.10 jersey.
 
WHAT THEY’VE BEEN SAYING

England head coach Eddie Jones: “Argentina are a quality team, have power in the forwards, speed and guile in the backs as well as great experience.

“The set-piece is going to be important. We have worked hard on our scrum and maul this week so they are areas we feel we can get a slight dominance in.”

Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade: "Having Hernandez in the starting line-up is always a benefit for the team and of course playing at 10 is a position that he prefers.

“It is not only Hernandez's experience of that game which is important, it is his knowledge, his experience in many situations that is important for the team.”
 
HEAD-TO-HEAD

Dylan Hartley has had the spotlight on him for almost the entirety of his tenure as England skipper, but more so than ever on Saturday the hooker’s performance will be make or break.

The Argentines’ Bajada scrummaging technique directs all the force onto the opposing No.2, and if this key battle up front is to go England’s way, Hartley will be looking to fellow front-rowers Dan Cole and Mako Vunipola to relieve the pressure.

Elsewhere, in his preferred fly-half berth the experienced Hernández will be the man to stop for the Red Rose.

Calibrando la mira para mañana @HERNANDEZJUANI #VamosPumas pic.twitter.com/AJWQel35t8

— Los Pumas (@lospumas) November 25, 2016

The 34-year-old has tasted victory against England twice before, but George Ford’s game management will be pivotal and Jones clearly has faith in his playmaker – indicating in the week that he believes Ford is now one of the premier No.10’s in world rugby.
 
KEY STATS

The form guide does not make good reading for Argentina, having won just two of their past ten Tests while England have won 12 on the bounce – including 11 under Jones, averaging 3.5 tries and 32.7 points per game.

England were victorious the last time these teams met, at Twickenham back in 2013, and indeed won the four encounters prior to that one as well.

Argentina’s one and only victory over England at Twickenham came a decade ago in 2006, when they won 25-18, and Hernández was in the side that day.

DAWSON'S BIG PREVIEW ???@matt9dawson looks at the keys to an England win tomorrow with #IBMTryTracker: https://t.co/AKK22UIZXz pic.twitter.com/9PLMBYpcrX

— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 25, 2016

TEAMS

England:
15. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 53 caps)
14. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 20 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 27 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 45 caps)
11. Elliot Daly (Wasps, 7 caps)
10. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 28 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 63 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 37 caps)
2. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 77 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 67 caps)
4. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 51 caps)
5. George Kruis (Saracens, 18 caps)
6. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 53 caps)
7. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 43 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 31 caps)
 
Replacements:
16. Jamie George (Saracens, 10 caps)
17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 44 caps)
18. Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 2 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
20. Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 64 caps)
22. Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 2 caps)
23. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
 
Argentina: Joaquín Tuculet, Matías Orlando, Matías Moroni, Santiago González Iglesias, Santiago Cordero; Juan Martín Hernández, Tomás Cubelli; Lucas Noguera, Agustin Creevy (c), Ramiro Herrera, Guido Petti, Matías Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Javier Ortega Desio, Leonardo Senatore.

Replacements: Julián Montoya, Santiago García Botta, Enrique Pieretto, Facundo Isa, Tomas Lezana, Martin Landajo, Jerónimo De la Fuente, Juan Pablo Estelles

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