While their Rugby World Cup title hopes may have each gone up in smoke last week, England and Argentina clash at the State de France on Friday determined to leave with bronze.
England v Argentina
Friday 27 October
Stade de France
To Win Match (80 Mins)
England 31/100 | Draw 24/1 | Argentina 12/5
The value of third/ fourth-place playoffs continues to be questioned in what is perpetually described as “something of a nothing game”. After the emotional highs and lows of participating in, and losing a Rugby World Cup semi-final, it cannot be an easy ask to suit up yet again for a match with very little true meaning on the line.
Michael Cheika’s boys never reached their full potential in France, losing their Pool D opener against their opponents this week and failing to live up to their pre-tournament hype. The South Americans’ best performance came in their 29-17 quarterfinal comeback win over Wales but an abysmal 6-44 thumping at the hands of the All Blacks in the last four put paid to their title ambitions.
Still, Los Pumas may feel they have a point to prove against the Roses after that 10-27 defeat on the first weekend of tournament action. Theirs remains a squad stacked with quality who will be eager to end their year on a high.
After leading for the majority of their semi-final against South Africa, England just couldn’t hang on in the end and ultimately slumped to a nail-biting 15-16 defeat. Owen Farrell was a cut above on the day and his leadership and fierce competitiveness will doubtless be at the forefront of everything Steve Borthwick’s charges do again on Friday.
If the 2003 champions produce anything close to what they did a week ago, they should again be too good for Argentina and ensure it’s not a clean sweep of Southern Hemisphere medal winners this time round.
Verdict: England (-8.5) 7/10
England should have very little problem brushing the South Americans aside provided they get up for this game.