RWC 2011: England v Argentina Post-Match Reaction

Full time in Dunedin, and after that brutal encounter, Argentina will be devastated, and England counting their blessings.

Here are some quotes from the post-match press conference at the Otago Stadium:

Johnno: “In ’07 France would have bitten your arm off to win that game and it was the same for us today. In the circumstances, that was a good win, a fantastic win because they were six points down. It was stop-start and we were giving penalties away. It was a tough game. It’s blindingly obvious that we could have lost today. But we didn’t, we won.”

Jonny: “You concentrate on what you control and for me that’s kicking the ball. Today it felt good, felt right but it wasn’t going over. I’m a bit better with my back to the wall. You can’t let these things faze you.”

Tindall: “I had to trust Wilko with his calls. A couple of times he said he didn’t want to go for it, so we went for the corner. But you have to trust your kicker, especially when it’s Jonny Wilkinson.”

Foden: “I just think that will always be the way Argentina approach the World Cup. They have the tag of being upsetters. You’ve got to give them credit. With Argentina, you have to wear them out and then break them down.”

Vent and rant right here.

33 thoughts on “RWC 2011: England v Argentina Post-Match Reaction

  1. The display was poor, in fact beyond poor, from so many aspects. In any other game, I would struggle to find positives BUT:
    1. We now know Ben Youngs should probably start or at least come on earlier. I’m not sure if he is fit enough for the full test yet.
    2. England have had a wake up call. They have been thoroughly tested and came through…just.

    The main problem for England was captaincy. Tindall and Easter (forward captain) failed to communicate the referees intentions to their team properly. Tindall kept going for posts despite the fact that Wilkinson was not on form, and when he was in front of the posts towards the end of the game, he went for the corner. Bizarre really.

    But a win is a win, no matter how bad it was.

    1. Why oh why was Toby flood not introduced?

      If Flood had missed those kicks and touch like that Wilko would have been on at half time.

      Still maybe Flood gets the start next game.

      1. I agree – Flood would have been replaced after the first 2 misses – it has to be even across the team. He should have come on half way through the second half at the latest.

  2. slow start penalty count ery annoying but we came out tops,we will improve and score tries but well done Pumas kept us away from the Pill for most of the first hour. Referee helped them and no yellow card for Argentina? suspect. As for the 3 incidents of gouging it must be stamped out.Win is a Win is a Win though

  3. With so many kicks being missed by both sides, is the new Gilbert ball which has been introduced for the World Cup behaving oddly? I have never seen Jonny Wilkinson miss kicks by such a great margin – he’s better than that.

      1. It just seems odd that both sides missed so many kicks. It will be interesting to hear what Jonny has to say about it.

        1. Hi from New Zealand…Have been giving it a lot of thought here too…had just 1 kicker missed kicks you could say they were “off form” but both kickers ?? to co-incidental…..was it the ball….was it stadium lights…has Jonny made comment anywhere…Cheers Chris

  4. without a specialist openside to secure quick ball we’re going to struggle, is moody the answer? probably not. But the Argies are no slouches and are no pushovers, on that performance Scotland have work cut out.

  5. Dire performance – but then again all the big teams have failed to fire in the matches so far – in a way this was actually exactly the performance England needed for the RWC, and will stand them in good stead if the get to the knock out stages – being able to grind out a win when nothing has gone to plan, and their usual get out of jail card Jonny has an off day is far more valuable experience than putting half a century of points against poor opposition.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. If you can play THAT badly and still win, it says something, and the coaches of other teams will be aware of that

    2. Did England have a game plan?
      Seems to me they were ill disciplined and clueless, they couldnt match the Pumas at breakdowns and will stuggle againts sides that have good kickers and backs that know how to run and score tries unless they improve dramatically.

  6. Absolute rubbish from England. Appalling at the breakdown once again – both offensively and defensively. The number of times Dan Cole was standing in mid-field when the ball came out was shocking. Why the hell was he not clearing out rucks??

    Everything was static and Wigglesworth did nothing to liven it up

    Looked like a different team when Youngs, Hartley and Stevens came on. I’d have stuck Wood on as well for Croft who added very little. He doesn’t hit the rucks or the tackles like a blind-side should and if he’s only there for line-outs then he’s an unnecessary luxury. Even his ball-carrying has been poor for a while now

    Foden looked slow when he made his break and Armitage looked clueless by not coming in-field for the pass. Oh how I wish Johnson had taken Sharples, Strettle or JSD

    The only plus for me was the scrum towards the end of the second half. Thought Stevens and Hartley were both good when they came on. Having seen the Scottish pack being pushed around like Bambi on rollerskates by Romania, they must be concerned about what England will do to them

  7. Look, i reckon this will be our hardest game, and if England had managed to cut out the ill discipline we might well have had a clean score card. Not conceding tries is one positive thing we can take from the match.

    Another thing is that our fitness told in the end. The Puma scrum got weak, and with Hartley and Stevens on they couldnt hope. I reckon Stevens should start ahead of Cole, if offers more than just scrummaging.

    Not a great game by anymeans… but still a win!

  8. The breakdown was an issue but that was always going to be tough against argentina who, despite age, still have one of the best tight 5 units in the world and another world class operator in lobbe in the back row.

    However, counting the number of times the backs caught the ball standing still AND drifted in their running lines was ridiculous. lost count in the first 20 minutes. This is basic stuff, no one hitting the ball at pace, no one changing angles or running dummy lines. No one fixing defenders and passing before contact – it was appalling. None of these players do this when playing for their clubs so what exactly is Brian Smith doing? What was englands strategy? It was not clear at any stage both in attack AND in defence.

    Most school first XV’s and club rugby will have more attacking imagination than this. Yes we have a weapon in tuilagi but if you saw nonu yesterday you saw how he should and could be used.

    This is the worst prepared side i have seen in a long time.

  9. That was the worst performance I’ve seen from England in a while, although you really can’t underestimate this Argentinian side! What worries me most is the number of missed tackles, especially first up tackles – if Argentina can punch that many holes in our defense, what will the All Blacks and Wallabies do? (if we get that far). The only positives were Ben Youngs’ impact when he came on, and the fact that the whole team can’t miss-fire that badly again – we can only improve (I hope!).

  10. My perception is that the lousy ref really unsettled England from the start, that the team has been chopped and changed too much, and has not had time to settle properly.

    Chris Ashton is strangely subdued, Johnnie had an off day, and England didn’t play the ball widely enough as the All Blacks do.
    Instead they allowed themselves to be drawn into ruck after ruck, The Argentinians are strong, and thankfully of a Latin temperament. Had they have been more “composed”, they might well have won.
    We have to do better if we are to be in with any kind of chance of winning this world cup.

  11. Totally agree with you Paolo. Back row poor at the breakdown. Like Croft but you need to balance with better scrappers for the rucks. Wood should have come on. Easter was rubbish, complete lack of pace and offers nothing in attack or defence. Not a Haskell fan but better to have him at 8 with Fourie in the mix.

    Manu looked pretty good I thought but as Phil say the backs look totally clueless and underperformed even against their modest collective talents.

    The high penalty count is not just down to stupidity or carelessness – they were desperate. They were getting out-fought up front (tackling lacked any ferocity) until the Argies tired.

    Thank heavens for Youngs because without that flash of brilliance we would not have won today.

  12. I agree with most of the above after a very frustrating match. England never hit their stride and whilst the referee didn’t help, the players didn’t build any momentum. Credit to Argentina for keeping the ball for so long though! We didn’t touch it for an hour…

    The concerning thing for me was the body language of the players. There didn’t seem to be anyone getting them fired up, and they didn’t seem concerned that they might actually lose. In fact, there was a hint of complacency in their attitude, expectant that they’d come through eventually – thankfully they did, but they’ll need to brighten up and look more interested if they want to achieve anything.

    Still, it’s a win against the top seed in the group, so it’s not all bad. We’ve said that Rugby World Cups are about winning ugly, and that was very UGLY!

  13. A really, really tight match. What struck me, beyond the intensity and physicality of the match, was England winning in spite of missing so many penalties and missing so many tackles.

    I think we have to stop saying that anytime Argentina wins in rugby, it’s an upset. They are legit-look at how much of the Argentine starting XV is playing key roles for their English and French clubs.

  14. The Fake Blacks showed what they are. Lacking ideas and originality on and off the field. The wheels did not fall off but the numbers did. Good news for the real thing.

  15. I can’t believe we’re actually at the World Cup and Johnnon is trying to convince us that Tindall is an inside centre. He’s not even a particularly expansive 13, just a battering ram and he hasn’t set the world alight at 13 either.

    Meanwhile we had Flood on the bench and Flutey 12,000 miles away. I’d even rather see Hape at 12 and that’s saying something. This is the World Cup – you need specialists at this level.

    How must Flood feel today? Johnno watched that game and didn’t think Flood could do anything to improve on that performance. I’d be feeling pretty depressed if I were Flood.

    We’d be far better off with Flood at 10, Jonny at 12. If we really must play Tindall (which is debateable on yesterday’s performance) it should be at 13 with Manu as an impact sub.

    The Argies’ defensive line was a mess – they were there for the taking but we sat deep and Jonny pinged grubber kicks through which were good but nobody followed them up often enough. Flood would have stood flat, taken them on and got us behind their line.

    I also can’t believe it took us an hour to realise that the short kick-offs were just not working! Just hoof it, take the line-out and the territory. Territory comes first at this level. We spent all day playing too deep and it cost us a lot of penalties and nearly the game.

    Foden’s line break was class but at this level there’s no excuse for not scoring from that move. I agree that Armitage’s run was wrong, but Foden also was at fault – Ashton was to his right in acres of space. Foden has played a lot at scrum half – he should have better awareness of what’s around him than that. The All Blacks or Aussies would be kicking themselves if they’d butchered all that space.

    Bryce Lawrence is a complete tool, but come on, let’s not kid ourselves and blame him. That was nowhere near good enough.

    Lots to work on. I hope we keep the bulk of the side together because they need game time, even if it is against Georgia and Romania.

  16. Bit difficult to play when the Ref is not going to let you and has made it clear from the start. You I penalise them I dont

  17. The back aren’t the problem, even though they were not good.

    The problem is the breakdown, we aren’t winning any fast ball and we have reverted to pod systems 3-5 meters aways from the breakdown area.

    Seriously if I see Sheridan, Cole, or Deacon standing at first reciever again (sometimes alone) I’m going to scream. Laws didn’t have a great game, nobody did, but at least he was staning, either ready to pick and go or out wide looking for collisions with smaller backs. Get the forwards in the mix for quick ball and let the backs play the ball.

    Backrow is a worry, we have no seven and as the referees have shown they will not tolerate any rubbush at the breakdown. Easter and Croft don’t hit many rucks, Haskell was a little better but rarely so. We need to make recycling the ball the number one priority in the backrow. In my opinion, fitness permitting, we should play Moody at 6 and Fourie at 7, we need to win the rucks. Without this that happening the rest of the chat about centres and fly-halfs is academic. But the breakdown is note only the backrows job, I would play Shaw and Lawes, shaw is like an extra backrow forward for at least half of the game, he will read the game, get to the breakdown and hit the ruck. Stevens is more mobile at prop and should start as he is not a bad scrummager and more mobile than cole or Sheridan.

    We can’t play with the speed the commentators are asking for if our own pack can’t keep up, too many times we see Tuillangi and Wilkinson hitting the ruck, Why?
    because the forwards are too slow.

    Non of this will happen, Johno will put the result down to mistakes which need to eradicated thus our game will be even more conservztive.

  18. Couldn’t agree more – i screamed at the TV when i saw Tindall going into contact and Wilkinson was the only white shirt there for about 5 seconds against 3 Argentinian forwards.

    Seriously, why hasn’t this been addressed? It was the same issue all through the warm up games.

    Youngsy holds the key to our world cup success i feel.

    Also think Wood deserves a shot. Croft has become complacent as he’s been a shoe-in at 6 for ages now.

    So looking forward a week to Georgia, i’d go:

    1. Sheridan
    2. Hartley
    3. Stevens
    4. Shaw
    5. Lawes
    6. Wood
    7. Moody (c)
    8. Haskell
    9. Youngs
    10. Wilkinson
    11. Cueto
    12. Tindall
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden (just).

    16. Corbisero.
    17. Thompson
    18. Palmer
    19. Croft
    20. Simpson
    21. Flood
    22. Armitage

  19. fair point on woods, I like him and he does have mobility, his lineout play is excellent so we wouldn’t miss croft so much, I couuld buy woods and moody, however haskell can’t play 8, he doesn’t have the ball skills.

  20. Minuses:

    1. Jonny (obviously) – if his boots aren’t firing there is simply no reason to have him in the team. Let’s fact it, he’s never been the most creative 10 in the world and you can’t play someone for just being a big hitter.
    2. The referee – after Jonny, probably had the worst match on the pitch. The offsides at the start I just couldn’t see. The ‘blocking’ penalty was just laughable. Argentina not getting the same treatment or a binning. I’m not blinkered and happy to admit that England did infringe too often but why can’t we just have a bit of consistency. The way he refereed in the first half totally killed the game as it put England on the back foot the whole time.
    3. Tindall – !! I just don’t see what he has to offer over and above about 10 other players who could step into that position from the Prem. He’s big, yes, but he goes down like a sack as soon as anyone so much as strokes him. He’s not particularly quick, he’s not creative, I don’t particulalrly see what he does as a captain. Defence is good, but again, he can’t justify a selection just for the big hits alone.
    4. Too many donkeys in the back line, all said above already – just get the hell out of the way if we’re attacking won’t you!
    5. Ashton – had an OK game, but what happened to the guy who played against the Aussies last autumn? We need him to come back to the party.
    6. Wrigglesworth – just awful.
    7. Missed tackles – simply no excuse for this.
    8. Overall, the worst bit of that perfomance for me was the overwhelming lack of urgency. It just looked like we were going though the motions and I got no sense of passion or desire to really take th Argie back line apart. Thankfully got a bit of this when Youngs came on – he should have put Flood on at the same time though.

    Pluses:

    1. Defence – even with the breaks they had and the overwhelming possession, Argentina never really looked like they were going to score. Partly because they just don’t have it in the backs, but equally because we just kept knocking them down (except of course for the couple of missed hits).
    2. I think, or at least hope, this game gave Johnson a better idea of what his starting line-up is going to be come the big matches. It may even give him cause to consider a few slightly more controversial options e.g. dropping Tindall or Wilko. Whatever happens, it is now pretty clear to me at least that if we don’t have people like Youngs & Stevens playing then we might as well get the plane back now.

    When all is said and done, we played very poorly both collectively and individually bar a few exceptions, we trailed for the overwhelming majority of the game, we had a pretty good and fired up opposition, we had the crowd against us (where the hell did they all come from?), the referee (in my eyes) was a complete arse & seemed to blow on a definite 3 occasions which to me were completely inexplicable, we had (again in my eyes) some pretty poor leadership on the field, we had a kicker who seemed to be kicking with a blindfold on, and still we won.

    There are 2 things which give me a little bit of hope. One is this, that despite how poor we were and everything else, we got the win. The other thing is that from what I’ve seen so far, no-one else has looked especially good either. Unless they do something seriously stupid, I think Australia must now be clear favourites.

  21. England are one dimensional and not very good. But one has to admire the confidence and arrogance. Even with a crap team they still believe they are world beaters. Australia also have that confidence/arrogance which has to be admired. The difference is that Australia are a class act.

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