7 Jun 2009

International Wire Story

6:42 am on 7 June 2009



UPDATE 1-Rugby-England kick way to victory over Argentina

.. England beat Argentina but without flair

.. Goode on target for home side

.. Johnson defends kicking approach

(adds detail, quotes)

By Chris Brereton

MANCHESTER, June 6 (Reuters) - England defeated Argentina 37-15 at Old Trafford on Saturday with a performance high on efficiency but lacking in flair.

A healthy 40,000 crowd did their best to enliven matters but the game was dominated by the boot with Andy Goode kicking 22 points with exciting running rugby at a premium.

"We had to be patient at times and take our points and try and build a good win," England head coach Martin Johnson told reporters when defending England's conservative approach.

"When you have shots at goal against Argentina you have to take them. You've got to score points and that's the name of the game.

"Andy Goode kept his composure very well. It's not nice when people are whistling you but you have to win the test match."

Argentina took an early lead courtesy of a drop-goal from Juan Martin Hernandez before Goode kicked a regulation penalty after eight minutes to restore parity.

It was an indicator of what was to come as both number 10s looked to dominate the match.

A Goode drop-goal then gave England a 6-3 lead before another penalty and a converted try from debutant Matt Banahan stretched England's advantage to 16-3.

Banahan's effort finally lit up the encounter and came courtesy of fine handling work by the English backs.

Just before the break Goode kicked another drop-goal and Hernandez added two penalties from straight in front as the first half ended 19-9.


That was soon 22-9 as Goode slotted another penalty.

Hernandez again responded with two of his own to make it 22-15 before the kicking tedium was again lifted when Delon Armitage scored on the hour mark.

Scrum-half Danny Care wriggled free of the Argentina defence and flung the ball wide for Mark Cueto who kicked the ball forward first time into Armitage's path to score a try that Goode converted.

England's supporters began to boo their own side for the lack of imagination and desire to kick penalties rather than run the ball but they were finally satisfied in the closing moments when Cueto and Armitage again combined for another try.

Goode kicked into the path of the sprinting Cueto who beautifully volleyed the ball and Armitage showed superb acceleration to run through and land on the ball as it bobbled on the try-line to seal the win.

Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe said: "I think it is clear, first of all that England had a really good game and a really good game plan.

"They messed up our ball big time and we conceded too many penalties again.

"We are not happy to concede almost 40 points. We tried our best but we need to improve quickly."

(Editing by Dave Thompson. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)