England Secure Third Place in Rugby World Cup with Victory Over Argentina

England Secure Third Place in Rugby World Cup with Victory Over Argentina

The last thing this sometimes bonkers, always scrappy contest for third place needed was extra time, but when Argentina’s Nicolás Sánchez lined up a shot at goal with the clock running down, another 2src minutes in a match that ostensibly does not matter loomed large. As it was, Sánchez missed the kick, England survived a couple of scrums eerily close on the field to that which cost them dearly against South Africa last week and ultimately finish their World Cup as they started it – with a hard-fought win against Argentina.

These exhausted players who began preparing for the competition in June were spared the extra mile and though it was a victory that exposed England’s limitations, it was a victory nonetheless. And one that comes at the end of a difficult week given the furore surrounding Tom Curry, who enjoyed a fine 5src minutes before making way, visibly drained but head held high.

How much England have improved in between a campaign bookended by wins over the Pumas is up for debate, but Steve Borthwick will be content with another narrow victory to finish on the podium when he comes to pore over the last few months, and England avoided waving goodbye to some of their long-time servants, including Ben Youngs, the most capped men’s player of all time, with another agonising defeat. They had tries from Ben Earl and Theo Dan as well as 16 points from Owen Farrell and 24 tackles from the tireless Sam Underhill to thank, no one but themselves to blame for coming so close to ending up on the losing side.

Identifying the point of this “bronze final” fixture remains a task easier said than done, but if anything, it served as a reminder that these two sides are considerably short of those that contest Saturday’s final. England might have run the Springboks mightily close last week, but there is a gulf in quality between the sides who lost t

…. to be continued
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