Simon Mail previews England's opening Autumn international and expects the hosts to claim a win over the Pumas at Twickenham...
"All the evidence points to a home win with England dominant against Argentina. The last eight meetings have all been won by England and it is very difficult to make a convincing case for the Pumas."
England v Argentina
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England begin their Autumn international schedule with a home game against Argentina at Twickenham this weekend. It is the latest chance for Eddie Jones to assess his playing options as he continues to build towards preparing for the target of winning the World Cup in 2019. It has been a remarkable rise under the Australian and the focus will be on peaking in time for the tournament in Japan in two years time.
There is so much confidence within the England camp under Jones and there is no suggestion of any complacency despite their exceptional form. England have only lost to Ireland during his reign which brought a halt to a record-equalling run of 18 consecutive Test wins. Back-to-back Six Nations titles underline England are the best chance of the home nations in ending New Zealand's stranglehold on world rugby.
England are focused on improving all aspects of their game and this was emphasised by scrum-half Ben Youngs' comments on the team's aim of becoming the best attacking side in the sport. This is obviously a huge challenge when faced with surpassing the brilliance of the All Blacks' offloading game but demonstrates the squad are not satisfied with being the second best team in the world.
Jones wants improvement across the board and the decision to hold a training session between the England and Wales forwards underlines no attention to detail is being spared. England are taking seriously the challenge of taking on Argentina especially up front. The session focused on the set piece with extensive work on the scrum and line-out ahead of their international against the Pumas.
The teams are very familiar with each other after two matches in Argentina during the summer. Jones selected a very inexperienced England squad, while the British & Irish Lions series was taking place, but still managed to come away with successive victories over the hosts. England edged to a thrilling 38-34 win in the opener before another 35-25 victory in the second match.
Jones has opted to rest Saracens duo Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje for this weekend's game. Exeter back Henry Slade forms a new centre partnership for England alongside Jonathan Joseph. Elliot Daly is fit to start on the wing after making a quick recovery from his knee ligament injury. Bath flanker Sam Underhill makes his second senior international appearance. Seven players retain their places in the side which won in Argentina.
All the evidence points to a home win with England dominant against Argentina. The last eight meetings have all been won by England and it is very difficult to make a convincing case for the Pumas. Jones has more options at his disposal than back in the summer and he has won every match in charge of the side at Twickenham. The handicap mark is pitched at 20 points with [16.5] shots Argentina given very little chance of success this weekend.
A home win looks a near certainty but England's last four wins over Argentina all failed to cover this weekend's handicap mark which suggests an alternative bet is merited. Joseph has a superb recent record at Twickenham with the Bath back scoring seven tries for England in the last five games at the stadium. Joseph will be a key attacking threat this weekend and looks generously priced to score at 15/8.
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