Super sub sinks Poms

Federico Todeschini came off the bench to score 22 points as Argentina compounded England’s misery with a 25-18 win at Twickenham.

Todeschini had flawless display with the boot and scored a crucial try after replacing Gonzalo Tiesi halfway through the first half.

Despite outscoring Argentina by two tries to one England were outclassed by better coached, more structured side who celebrated joyously as the home team marched off to jeering from a Twickenham crowd that has now seen the world champions go seven Test matches without a win.

Ultimately it was ill-discipline which cost the hosts, as the Argentina kickers sunk six of the eight penalties which they conceded in their half.

But to limit the win to kicking alone would be grossly inaccurate. The Pumas’ forwards were dynamic in the tight-loose and their backs, led by the effervescent Gus Pichot, always looked dangerous with ball-in-hand.

England however were a shadow of the side that won the showpiece tournament in 2003, with forwards that had no clue and a backline that seemed to crab across the park given half a chance.

The first half was a dour, error-riddled affair which required a sensational score from England right wing Paul Sackey to ignite the contest.

Argentina would have felt pleased with their performance going into the break having dominated their hosts in all facets of play. The England backline never got going; due partly to well structured Pumas defence, but largely as a result of slow ball from the ruck base. The South Americans dominated the breakdown and displayed a superior level of intensity, regularly committing far more numbers and rucking and counter-rucking with rabid enthusiasm.

Pichot and co. put tremendous pressure on England scrumhalf Shaun Perry, never allowing the Bristol man time to line up his pass.

It took a moment of sublime skill and raw power for Sackey to break the 3-all deadlock in the 33rd minute. A set move from a lineout saw Anthony Allen then Charlie Hogson throw a cut-out pass, which found Sackey, who duly seethed through two defenders and glided past fullback Juan Martin Hernandez.

The 7-point lead was short lived though as substitute Todeschini sunk two penalties either side of the siren to give his side a 12-10 lead.

England were crying out for Hogson to take control of the match, but the embattled flyhalf continued his dire form, routinely making poor decisions and missing crucial touch finding kicks.

Andy Robinson had enough and replaced him with Toby Flood 8-minutes into the second half. But the coach would have been wondering if there was some kind of curse on the position when, within two minutes of coming on, Flood threw a speculative pass which was intercepted by Todesceni. 19-10 Argentina. England were reeling.

Even a 61st minute Iain Balshaw try couldn’t prevent Argentina from recording their first win at Twickenham since 1997 and in the process heap tremendous pressure on Robinson whose career as the England head coach now looks as dead as the team he sent out today.

Scorers

England
Tries:Paul Sackey,Iain Balshaw
Conversions:Charlie Hogson,Toby Flood
Penalties:Charlie Hogson,Flood

Argentina
Tries:Federico Todeschini
Conversions:Todeschini
Penalties:Felipe Contepomi,Todeschini (5)

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