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SPORTS | 07-09-2023 11:53

Cheika plumps for experience in Argentina side to play England

Argentina coach Michael Cheika named an experienced side to play their World Cup Pool D opener against England in Marseille on Saturday.

Argentina coach Michael Cheika named an experienced side to play their World Cup Pool D opener against England in Marseille on Saturday.

Agustín Creevy will play his fourth Rugby World Cup having been named on the bench, with fellow hooker Julián Montoya captaining the run-on XV.

When he takes to the field, Creevy will join Mario Ledesma Arocena, Felipe Contepomi and Martín Scelzo as the only Argentines to have played in as many World Cup tournaments.

Nine players in the starting team have World Cup experience. 

Argentina have lost all three of their previous World Cup pool matches against England: 39-10 in 2019, 13-9 in 2011 and 24-18 in 1995.

And England have only lost five times to Argentina in 25 matches in total, although Los Pumas ran out 30-29 winners at Twickenham last month in their most recent encounter.

Alex Mitchell was on Thursday named at scrum-half in a surprise call by coach Steve Borthwick for England.

Mitchell was a late call-up to the England squad after Jack Van Poortvliet was ruled out with injury.

Danny Care is named on the bench, with the vastly experienced Ben Youngs missing out on the match-day 23 altogether.

Courtney Lawes is named captain at blindside flanker and is joined in the backrow by Tom Curry on the openside and Ben Earl at No.8.

In the front row, vice-captain Ellis Genge starts at loosehead prop with Jamie George at hooker and Dan Cole on the tighthead.

Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum are paired at lock, while Mitchell will team up with George Ford at half-back.

Manu Tuilagi partners Joe Marchant in midfield, with Jonny May and Elliot Daly filling the wingers' spots and Freddie Steward at fullback.

"With an excellent week of preparation in Le Touquet, the players are now looking forward to starting their Rugby World Cup campaign under the lights in Marseille on Saturday," said Borthwick.

"After a number of impressive performances in the last 12 months by Argentina, we know that the first game in our pool will provide a stern test. This great tournament provides an excitingly special opportunity for our players, who I know, as ever, will be giving their all in front of our travelling support in the south of France."

 

 

Argentina (15-1)

Juan Cruz Mallia; Emiliano Boffelli, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Chocobares, Mateo Carreras; Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou; Juan Martín González, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera; Tomás Lavanini, Matías Alemanno; Francisco Gómez Kodela, Julián Montoya (capt), Thomas Gallo

Replacements: Agustín Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Pedro Rubiolo, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazán Vélez, Matías Moroni

England (15-1)

Freddie Steward; Jonny May, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Ben Earl, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes (capt); Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje; Dan Cole, Jamie George, Ellis Genge

Replacements: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, George Martin, Lewis Ludlam, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence

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