Saturday 10 June 2017

Argentina v England (First Test)

Podcast Episode - 18

Solomona wonder try secures victory for England

In a very scrappy game with a lot of inexperience in the England starting XV, errors weren't hard to spot, but it was one of those games that was as exciting as it was frustrating. The first half beggared belief as opportunity after opportunity went begging, but as a fan, it certainly kept you at the edge of your seat - even if just to ensure you really just witnessed that! However, despite the errors, there were rare glimpses of genius. Tom Curry, hot of his 'MOM' performance at Twickenham, took his first official cap in both hands, putting in a hell of a shift to ensure that Eddie Jones was under no illusion that this young man wants in! Other stand out performances came from fellow newbie(ish) Ellis Genge, always strong up front and showing this again in South America.

Joe Launchbury and Nathan Hughes also lead by example - Hughes in particular really looking comfortable in the No.8 shirt - a nice change from his Six Nations performances that felt a little less impactful and commanding. Unfortunately for him, he's up against Billy so he should make the most of the time he has with the shirt before Billy returns.

A really pleasant surprise came in the form of MOM George Ford whose control of the game, clinical kicking and late try gave England the platform needed to get the win - even if they did have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find it.

The 23:
1. Ellis Genge
2. Dylan Hartley (c)
3. Harry Williams

4. Joe Launchbury
5. Charlie Ewels

6. Mark Wilson
7. Tom Curry
8. Nathan Hughes

9. Danny Care
10. George Ford

11. Jonny May
12. Alex Lozowski
13. Henry Slade
14. Marland Yarde
15. Mike Brown

16. Jack Singleton
17. Matt Mullan
18. Will Collier
19. Nick Isiekwe
20. Don Armand
21. Jack Maunder
22. Piers Francis
23. Denni Solomona

The second half showed immediate signs of progress with a converted penalty followed swiftly by a try to put England ahead. Things we looking up...WRONG...the Pumas came sraight back with a brace inside 3 minutes - both off the back of missed tackles by wonder-wing Denni Solomona. It looked like all the hype had come crashing down. 

Back and fourth as the scrappy game, full of errors continued to see the lead and the score board change hands until with 4 minutes left on the clock and at 31 a piece, Argentina seized their opportunity with a cheeky drop goal to put themselves ahead in what looked sure to be the final nail. Wrong again! Denni Solomon, clearly biding his time and waiting for his opportunity to attack did just that with his first touch of the ball. A sixty meter wonder try that had it all - pace, power, guts and glory - as he bounced his way through three Argentina players to touch down under the posts - 30 seconds left on the clock and 4 points behind not enough for Argentina - England the victors 38-34.

It may have been scrappy, it may have been full of errors, but something about the way they never gave up and scraped out the win left England fans feeling very proud. The young guns did the job - now the chance to make it 2 from 2. A little more clinical and these boys could really take it to the Argie's next Saturday.

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