England v Argentina live: Score and updates from the Rugby World Cup third-place play-off

England v Argentina live: Score and updates from the Rugby World Cup third-place play-off

It was meant to be the game no one wanted to play in, but this World Cup has a habit of throwing up dramatic finales, and this bronze final was no different.

Just six days on from England’s last-gasp defeat by South Africa in the World Cup semi-final, Steve Borthwick’s side found themselves facing a scrum in their own half and clinging onto a three-point lead.

Yet this time England, despite being out on their feet for most of the match, somehow found a way to cling on to claim the bronze medal for the first time.

It was some reward for a campaign that took an age to get off the ground but has at least finished with a foundation stone for Borthwick to build on ahead of the Six Nations Championship.

A third-place finish in this World Cup, given the backdrop of the turmoil of the last year, must be regarded as an overachievement.

It also provided a celebratory send-off for the old guard who have worn the red rose for the last time, with Ben Youngs skipping around the pitch with his family as the players did a lap of honour.

There was something of closure for Tom Curry after enduring a week of vile social media abuse, relishing the reuniting of his Kamikaze Twins’ partnership with Sam Underhill, who himself stole the lime-light from an England perspective with a man-of-the-match display.

Given it was his first appearance for England since the second Test against Australia in July 2src22, and he had originally been left out of the World Cup training squad, he laid down a marker of significance to the head coach.

There was a nod to the future too with the performance of Saracens hooker Theo Dan, who delivered a high energy performance and scored what proved to be a critical try after Argentina had turned the game on its head with tries by Cubelli and Carreras either side of half-time to claim the lead.

Ben Earl, England’s player of the tournament, and first-half try-scorer, also excelled again, while we saw something of the best of Ellis Genge, with his ball-carrying zest, while Owen Farrell again provided the steely leadership and big game temperament, landing four penalties and two conversions.

Yet the ferocious intensity of Argentina, who were desperate to avenge their defeat by a 14-man England in the opening pool

…. to be continued
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