England vs Argentina Preview, Why Pumas favorites in this Match ?

On Saturday, Argentina will begin their World Cup campaign in Marseille in uncharted territory.

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As the Pumas are ranked two places higher than England in the world standings, they are slight favorites for the first time.

Last year, Cheika’s side won their first away game against New Zealand, before beating England and Australia on the road and finishing third in the recent Rugby Championship.

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While eighth-placed England had a disappointing Six Nations, they lost three of their four summer warm-up matches, including their first loss to Fiji.

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Flying the flag for South America

Argentina are South America’s only realistic hope of reaching the knockout stages in France, while Chile and Uruguay will play their parts.

In 2007, the Pumas finished third before reaching the semi-finals for the second time in 2015, when their games were built on physicality and set-piece dominance, and feared props Marcos Ayerza and Ramiro Herrera were dominating the scrum.

Dan Cole, England prop, says they remain “formidable” up front despite a more dynamic approach.

“You look at their team in the Rugby Championship, they’re dangerous. If they have one scrummage where you are not fully focused, they’ll do you damage.”

While Argentina’s pack retains much of its potency, the class of 2023 has more to offer.

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Put power in your pack

Julian Montoya, Cole’s Leicester team-mate, will lead the side from hooker with great effort and intensity.

With his tireless running and powerful lines in open play, the 29-year-old will set an example for the rest of the Pumas pack.

Juan Martin Gonzalez, the new Saracens signing at number six, will look to challenge England’s defence in the loose and impose himself at the breakdown.

In 24 matches for Argentina, he has scored seven tries, including a powerful burst against the All Blacks in August 2022.

Brains behind the brawn

Cheika, 56, is an experienced Test coach.

In 2015, he led the Wallabies to the World Cup final after winning the Champions Cup with Leinster in 2009.

After losing to England in the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Cup, he was named World Rugby’s Coach of the Year.

Eddie Jones had bragging rights over his friend and old adversary, but Cheika had the last laugh.

A member of the Pumas set-up in an advisory role in 2020, he was appointed head coach in 2022.

Following their impressive victory over the All Blacks in Christchurch during the Rugby Championship, Argentina defeated England at Twickenham only once.

A few games later, Jones was relieved of his duties as England’s head coach.

England’s team to face Argentina

It is composed of Mallia, Boffelli, Cinti, Chocobares, M Carreras, S Carreras, Bertranou, Gallo, Montoya (captain), Lavanini, Alemanno, Martin Gonzalez, Kremer and Matera.

Creevy, Sclavi, Bello, Petti Pagadizabal, Rubiolo, Bruni, Bazan Velez, Moroni are the replacements.

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