Published On: Sat, Nov 11th, 2017

England 21 – Argentina 8: Eddie Jones rages during scrappy match | Rugby Union | Sport

The memory that lingers will be of how head coach Eddie Jones publicly lost his temper watching the painful struggle of England to victory.

Jones threw down his notebook in fury at the sight of another needless penalty conceded by England in the second half. He cursed, he shouted, he banged his fist, and he looked as if he might explode.

Argentina missed the kick, as they did several others. In fact, if they had been successful with all their penalties and conversions, the visitors would have actually won this scruffy, scrappy international.

As it was, they let England off the hook in terms of the result. But there will be no escaping the wrath of Jones when it comes to the de-brief session at their training camp.

England may have claimed their 20th win 21 matches under the robust guidance of Jones, but this was easily the worst display in that time. His mission is to make them the No.1 team in the rugby world.

Yesterday, they were nowhere near such heights. Certainly, wearing a new playing strip that was mostly black did not make the devastating force of New Zealand. Perhaps the kit was a symbol of a bad day.

It is their eighth different strip in only three years. This one in the shops at a princely cost of £95. The money-making mantra is fully entrenched at Twickenham now, and it was curious to see George Ford in black, lightened by a few red trims around the edges.

There was little to lighten the mood all round – this was a dour contest mired in the morass of midfield; and for much of the time reduced to a kicking duel.

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One of so many high balls launched forward was at the heart of the significant action of the first half. England full back Mike Brown rose to take the catch, jumping above opposite number Joaquin Tuculet to claim the ball.

He had further to fall, too, and landed heavily on his head. In this new age of safety conscious rugby the outcome was a yellow card for the Argentine player.

Many thought this a harsh decision, yet if rugby union is serious about the welfare of players then such punishments are part of the process of changing the culture of the game.

England capitalised on their man advantage to swiftly score a try. Ford sent a long pass out to the right wing where it was caught in juggling fashion by No.8 Nathan Hughes who then barrelled his way to the touchdown.

Ford struck a post with his conversion attempt, as he did with an early penalty. But three other successful kicks, to just one penalty in replay from Emiliano Boffelli put England 14-3 ahead at the interval.

Argentina’s wizard fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez fluffed two other kicks to waste opportunities granted by serial infringements by England forwards.

It was that kind of scruffy encounter. Maybe it was a good match for England stars Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje to miss, not even with a place on the bench. Farrell was still at pitch-side, though, working as water carrier for team-mates, wearing his H20 armband.

There were precious few spells of excitement or domination by England. One came in the 55th minute when they kicked for a lineout in the corner rather than take three points from a penalty.

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When they could not score from this period of strong pressure, the face Jones was a picture of unhappiness as he shook his head.

The dam inside him broke a few minutes late when Mako Vunipola infringed in midfield. Jones could not contain his frustration any longer. It was just as well that Nicolas Sanchez missed the kick and that Bolelli had been equally hapless with another previous attempt.

England sealed triumph with the best moment of the game, the move started by a scintillating break from substitute Alex Lozowski. It was finished with a try in the corner Semesa Rokoduguni.

The officials checked if there had been a forward pass by Henry Slade. It was a marginal call in England’s favour. Sanchez scored a consolation try for Argentina in the final moments after England’s heroic defence almost kept them out in 29 phases of action.

That was one consolation for head coach Jones, the excellence of his team’s defensive play against supremely physical opposition.

Flanker Sam Underhill made a string of fine tackles, and gave the impression of a young player with a bright future at Test level.

Next weekend Australia are the visitors to Twickenham in this series of Autumn internationals, and that will surely be a more testing examination for England. But they will also have two talisman players back in Farrell and Itoje – and the furious words of Eddie Jones ringing in their ears. 

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