England dominate first half on way to convincing victory in Argentina
Last Updated: 08/06/13 10:17pm
England scored four tries during an impressive 32-3 win over Argentina in the opening Test in Salta.
David Strettle, Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan all touched down in a fine first half from Stuart Lancaster's youthful side, shorn of its star names who are in Australia with the Lions.
They led 25-3 at the break and were content to sit on that advantage until replacement Billy Vunipola crossed for the tourists' fourth try late on.
After conceding a free-kick at the first scrum of the game, England's powerful pack dominated Argentina at the next two engagements to win penalties which Freddie Burns kicked, first from 45 metres and then 50 metres.
Bustos Moyana missed the chance to reduce the arrears after a lineout offence and England extended their lead with the opening try of the game, set up by the first searing break in Test rugby from debutant Christian Wade.
Dave Attwood stole the lineout and England capitalised with Wade racing onto an inside ball from Morgan, who stayed in support to keep the ball alive in the Argentina 22.
Jonathan Joseph scooped up a scruffy pass from Burns and supplied the scoring pass for Strettle, who stretched to score in the corner.
Burns hit the post with his touchline conversion but he soon had another chance as England piled forward, playing with an attacking dynamism not seen since the victory over Scotland in the first round of the Six Nations.
Once again Morgan was at the heart of things with a bullocking charge deep into the Pumas half and Wade executed a delightfully delayed pass to send Twelvetrees over for his second Test try.
It was only a matter of time before England engineered a third try and it was scored, fittingly, by Morgan who crashed over in the corner after being released down the right by the quick hands of Twelvetrees, Joseph and Wade.
The Pumas were bested again in the scrum but England were penalised for notrolling away and Moyano slotted the kick with the last act of the first half.
England were pressed into long periods of defence in the second period and responded with an organised and largely disciplined display, barring the sin-binning of Courtney Lawes for a breakdown offence.
Strettle wasted a golden opportunity to score his second try of the match when he juggled and dropped a pass from Kyle Eastmond, who made an impact after coming on for his Test debut.
But England finished strongly, with Billy Vunipola marking his own Test debut with a last-minute try after picking up from the back of an England scrum that was marching forward.
The two-match series concludes in Buenos Aires on June 15.
Argentina v England, first Test 2013
England's Christian Wade received plenty of praise from coach Stuart Lancaster after impressing against Argentina.
Freddie Burns says England's players must become gladiators in Saturday's showdown with Argentina in Salta.
England captain Tom Wood wants his side to learn the lessons from their Six Nations failure when they tackle Argentina.