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England v Argentina: Eddie Jones' side to out-muscle Pumas

England scrum-half Ben Youngs
England eased past USA in their second pool game
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Simon Mail previews a packed day of World Cup action which includes England's clash against Argentina and hosts Japan's game against Samoa...

"England have enjoyed the upper hand recently winning their last nine matches against Argentina and are strongly fancied to make it ten in a row this weekend."

England v Argentina
Saturday, 09:00
Live on ITV

England given first test of World Cup

England have made a smooth start to their World Cup campaign although tougher tests are ahead starting against Argentina on Saturday. Eddie Jones' side were handed a generous schedule in the opening weeks in Japan and they have duly delivered two bonus-point wins. It leaves them well-placed to top their pool, leading to a likely quarter-final against Australia, but France can still have their say in the final match next week.

Barely stepping out of second gear in their first match, England looked sluggish as they overcame Tonga 33-3. Encouragingly, England improved in their last game as they eased to a 45-7 victory against USA. Their defence has looked extremely strong but this will be a significant step up and will tell us much more about the development of England as World Cup contenders.

Jones has reverted almost entirely to the team which faced Tonga with Owen Farrell at inside centre and George Ford at fly-half. Scrum-half Ben Youngs becomes England's third most capped player with his 92nd game. Lock George Kruis is preferred to Courtney Lawes and England have even more depth on the bench. Jack Nowell and prop Mako Vunipola have recovered from their injuries and will expect to make an impact during the match.

Pumas face must-win game

Argentina are at the point of no return and must overcome England to remain in contention for a last-eight spot. The Pumas left it too late to mount a second-half comeback against France in their opening match which was their tenth successive Test defeat. Argentina produced a dominant first-half display in their 28-12 victory against Tonga on Saturday but their failure to score a second-half point was a slight concern.

This will be England's first test of the tournament against Argentina but their physical strength should be enough to handle their opponents. The likes of Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi, who scored twice against Tonga, offer brute force and their power can hold their own against the Pumas. England should prove up to the task and can maintain a strong record against the South Americans.

England have enjoyed the upper hand recently winning their last nine matches against Argentina and are strongly fancied to make it ten in a row this weekend. Four of the last five victories have been by between 11 and 20 points, including the latest 21-8 win at Twickenham in 2017. The handicap mark of 14 looks in the balance but a bet on England to win by 11 to 20 points stands out at the prices.

Japan v Samoa
Saturday, 11:30
Live on ITV

Hosts on a high after stunning Ireland

Japan pulled off a sensational victory against Ireland last weekend to put the hosts on course for their first World Cup quarter-final. Their 19-12 win has put the Brave Blossoms in a great position with a final game decider to come against Scotland next week. Japan opened with a 30-10 win against Russia and Jamie Joseph's side will have taken huge belief from toppling Ireland.

japan ire.jpg

Samoa come into this match after a dispiriting 34-0 defeat to Scotland on Monday in Kobe. Ed Fidow was sent off for two yellow cards but the wing has been cleared to play for Samoa against Japan this weekend. Their discipline has proved their undoing at times and they will need to keep their heads if they are to cause an upset against the hosts.

Japan have won their last two games against Samoa including a 33-14 victory at the last World Cup. Both of these victories were by at least 19 points and Japan have never come into a match with more confidence. With bonus-points potentially making the difference between qualification in this tight pool, Japan will know the significance of scoring plenty of tries and are backed to cover an 18-point handicap in a win over Samoa.

Australia v Uruguay
Saturday, 06:15
Live on ITV

Wallabies to hit back after Wales blow

Australia's hopes of topping their pool suffered a huge setback after their thrilling 29-25 defeat against Wales last weekend. Michael Cheika's side mounted a fierce second-half fightback but Wales held on resolutely to take control of the group. The Wallabies also came on strong after the break in their opener against Fiji as they earned a 39-21 win.

Uruguay can celebrate this World Cup, regardless of their remaining results, after one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history. Their 30-27 win against Fiji was an exceptional performance which understandably took a lot out of them. Georgia punished a tiring team as Uruguay lost 33-7 in their second match but they should be well rested after a six-day break and wholesale changes to the squad.

Australia should win with something to spare but it looks worth backing Uruguay to prevail with a 52-point handicap advantage. Their only previous meeting came at the last World Cup and the favourites won 65-3 but plenty has changed since then. Uruguay have certainly improved and the Wallabies also do not appear to be the force of old. It is four years since Australia covered this margin of handicap and it could be beyond them in this pool match, especially if they make another slow start.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

P/L 2019-20 season

Staked: 21pts
Returned: 11.10pts
P/L: -9.9pts

Simon Mail,

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