International Rugby: England worth backing to win opening clash against Argentina

Freddie Burns has been handed his first full international start for England

Simon Mail looks at England's test match against Argentina this weekend and expects the tourists to land a narrow win...

"England have won the last two meetings between the sides but both were narrow and pretty unconvincing victories."

Argentina v England
Kick-off: Saturday 20.10
Live on TV: BBC Two

The serious business of England's summer tour begins this weekend when they face a difficult clash against Argentina. Stuart Lancaster's side warmed up with a comfortable 41-21 win over a South American select side in Uruguay, but this was only a gentle opener compared with the challenge they will face in Salta.

Lancaster has taken a relatively young squad to South America with ten English players away on the British and Irish Lions tour. This has given the opportunity to promising talents such as Christian Wade and Freddie Burns who will be determined to stake a claim for a permanent place in the side.

Burns scored 20 points in the 40-12 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham last month and the Gloucester back is considered a potential fly-half for the World Cup in 2015. In England's most recent win on Sunday, Billy Vunipola caught the eye with a quickfire hat-trick while Northampton full-back Ben Foden scored twice.

Argentina have come a long way in the international game and can boast a 26-12 win in Wales last November. The South Americans, who rely on their forwards' power, put 83 points on Brazil last month but nothing much can be read into that due to the step up in class of their next opponents.  

England have won the last two meetings between the sides but both were narrow and pretty unconvincing victories. The Pumas gave them an almighty scare in their most recent clash at the 2011 World Cup before England scraped home 13-9. Prior to that, the hosts edged to a 16-9 victory at Twickenham but the last time they met in Salta was four years ago when Argentina earned a 24-22 win.

Everything points towards another tight contest between the teams this weekend. It is fair to say Argentina are not at the peak of their powers and were arguably stronger in previous years but they will still present a test. There is plenty for England to play for as the young team try to prove their worth to Lancaster and their superior quality should be enough to give them a slender win. 

Recommended bet:

Back England to win by less than 12.5 points at 2.35/4

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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