England v Argentina talking points

10 November 2017 12:24

England open their autumn series against Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.

Here, Press Association Sport examines five talking points heading into the match.

Lions rested

Eddie Jones has chosen to rest Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell against Argentina due to their involvement in the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. The Saracens pair are among a handful of world class England players and the impact their absence has on an otherwise strongest available team will be interesting.

Slade's chance to shine

Slade has "something about him", according to Jones, and as Farrell's replacement at Twickenham he has the chance to argue why he must be a part of the Australian's long-term thinking. The Exeter playmaker has numerous strings to his bow - good footwork, surprising strength, vision and a big boot - and English rugby is hoping such a naturally gifted player can deliver.

Can Ford shoulder the goal-kicking burden?

In standing down Farrell, England have given up a key weapon in the form of one of the sport's most accurate goalkickers. Deputising is the less consistent George Ford who must prove he can be relied upon if needed - a question mark that still hangs over the in-form Leicester fly-half.

Foot on the Pumas' throat

Jones has orchestrated three victories over Argentina since his England stewardship began in 2015, including a 2-0 whitewash during the June tour to South America. The rivals meet in the group phase of the 2019 World Cup and this is their last clash before that pivotal showdown in Japan, offering added incentive for victory on Saturday.

Argentina's malaise

It has been a dreadful year for the Pumas, who have recorded a solitary victory against minnows Georgia in nine Tests including a Rugby Championship whitewash. World Cup semi-finalists in 2015, they have gone backwards amid concerns over their switch to an expansive game which some believe is at odds with their traditional strengths of forward might and set-piece dominance.

Source: PA