Changeable England stay unbeaten with Argentina win
England produced another mixed performance but still found a way to win, defeating Argentina 31-12 at Twickenham.
After their patchy win over Australia last weekend, England came out in the first half looking like a side determined not to suffer the same lapses in concentration this week.
A late score from substitute Ben Morgan, alongside the conversion from Farrell, ended the match in a positive fashion for England as they extended their winning streak at Twickenham to six matches.
But a scoreless and sloppy 37 minutes in the second half, when Argentine slowly chipped away at the hosts lead, will raise concerns for boss Stuart Lancaster heading into their final autumn international against New Zealand in a week’s time.
Farrell, who struggled with his direction against the Wallabies was back to his metronomic best in the first half as he gave England the lead just six minutes into the clash.
Argentina soon levelled, through the boot of fly-half Nicolas Sanchez. But it was a short-lived comeback from Los Pumas as England scored their first try of the afternoon, the hosts fashioning wave after wave of attack until eventually Launchberry found his way over the line.
Farrell added the conversion before Argentina again hit back with a 48 metre penalty from Marcelo Bosch.
David Beckham watches the match between England and Argentina at Twickenham with his sons.Reuters
(David Beckham watches the match between England and Argentina at Twickenham with his sons)
That was to be the end of the visitors success in the first half, however, Joel Tomkins making room for his centre partner Twelvetrees with a dummy run before the Gloucester man bounced off three tackles to touch down to the left of the posts.
England completed the first half with their third try of the day, Dickson spotting acres of space out on the right wing and sending the ball, via Farrell, out to Ashton, who went through unchallenged to touch down.
As impressive as the first half was from England, though, the second half was miserable as they failed to really get going before the 77th minute.
Argentina looked by far the more likely side to score and chipped away at the England lead with two more penalties, both from Sanchez, in the 46th and 55th minutes.
The visitors could have scored a couple of tries, to make things really interesting. But a bad decision by Bosch to kick for the posts from the halfway line once again, instead of kick for the corner, helped England escape as they did again when Benjamin Macome spilled the ball forward just five metres out.
The hosts then took advantage of a moment of disorganisation in the Argentine line, immediately after they made their final substitution, to put Morgan through unchallenged for the fourth try and leave the final score looking more comfortable than the run of play had been.
England complete their autumn series with a clash against New Zealand next weekend. If they can reproduce the kind of form they showed in the first half against Argentina, the reigning world champions will face a real challenge. However, if the England of the second half turns up to face the All Blacks, Twickenham could be in for a long afternoon.