England claimed bronze edging Argentina 26-23 in the 2023 Rugby World Cup play off at Stade de France today.
England set a rapid pace to the Test as fly half Owen Farrell knocked over his first penalty from 38-metres inside the opening three minutes, after Tom Curry – earning his 50th Test cap – forced a penalty at the breakdown.
Four minutes later, Farrell, the catalyst, took the ball flat to the line and hit Marcus Smith behind the dummy run of Manu Tuilagi, before quick hands from the Harlequin saw Ben Earl put into space and over the whitewash.
Farrell added the extras to make it 10-0.
The English fly half Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over when opting for another three-pointer on 13 minutes.
It was Emiliano Boffelli, who got the Los Pumas on the scoreboard after he bagged a penalty of his own shortly after to get Michael Cheika’s men off the mark.
England’s captain, Farrell restored the 13-point lead with his third penalty as half an hour passed in the Test.
But momentum shifted toward Argentina as half time approached, and scrum half Tomas Cubelli scuttled over from close range for their opening try and Boffelli converted.
England led 16-10 at the break.
Early in the second half, Argentina fly half Santiago Carreras ghosted through a gap and scampered away to score their second try of the match, with Boffelli’s conversion handing them a lead for the first time.
Hooker Theo Dan charged down the kick of Carreras off the restart, before calmly collecting and dotting it down under the sticks to give Farrell the easiest of conversions, and put England back in the ascendancy at 23-17.
Applause rang around Stade de France for Ben Youngs as he bowed out of Test rugby on 127 caps – Steve Borthwick brought on Danny Care in his place, just before Boffelli powered another penalty over the posts, to make it a three point game.
Farrell continued his fine form off the tee firing a third penalty over on 65 minutes, and in doing so became the tournament’s highest point scorer.
Coming off the Argentina bench, Nicolas Sanchez was quick to cancel it out with an effort of his own moments later however, Sanchez missed a match-levelling penalty with five minutes remaining, and England held on to confirm the win.
England now has won 12 of their last 13 Test matches against Argentina.