l’essentiel En infériorité numérique dès la 3e minute, l’Angleterre s’est imposée grâce à son demi d’ouverture George Ford 27 à 10 face à l’Argentine samedi à Marseille pour son entrée dans la Coupe du monde de rugby.
Jonny Wilkinson, who had elevated the drop-goal to an art form to lead the England rugby team to the World Cup title in 2003, must have appreciated it. His compatriot Ford, playing at fly-half in the absence of Owen Farrell, who was suspended for the first two matches of the tournament, brought back this almost forgotten weapon in modern rugby. The English number 10 executed three perfectly balanced kicks within ten minutes, including two from over 40 meters, and turned around a match that was not going well.
The finalists of the 2019 World Cup, uncertain after a difficult preparation, received their third red card of the summer in just the 3rd minute. This was the first red card in their World Cup history. The flanker Tom Curry, who hadn’t played since May, left his teammates at the start of the match after a head-to-head collision with Juan Cruz Mallia while contesting a high ball. However, similar to their narrow victory over Wales (19-17) last month, England found a renewed spirit in this stroke of misfortune. Encouraged by their supporters, some of whom missed the kick-off due to congestion at the entrance gates, England tightened their defense instead of focusing on elaborate offensive moves.
Le pied de Ford, impeccable face aux perches (six sur six de réussite) en plus de ses drops assassins, et logiquement désigné homme du match avec ses 24 points, a fait le reste face à des Pumas qui l’ont bien aidée. On pouvait attendre beaucoup mieux des joueurs de Michael Cheika à la sortie d’un Rugby Championship plutôt réussi entre une victoire en Australie (34-31) et une courte défaite chez les champions du monde sud-africains (22-21). Maladroits, en panne d’idées, indisciplinés, ils n’ont pas su tirer profit de leur supériorité numérique et devront encore attendre pour battre enfin les Anglais en Coupe du monde après déjà trois défaites en 1995, 2011 et 2019.
They will have time to analyze the reasons for this underperformance and ruminate on it, as they will not play again for almost two weeks, on September 22nd in Saint-Etienne against Samoa. The South Americans will then no longer have the right to make mistakes in order to escape from a group that also includes Chile and Japan, who will be England’s future opponent next week in Nice. The English have repeated throughout the week that they only need a breakthrough to stop their poor momentum and reclaim their place among the top nations in the world. They can confirm this against the Japanese, perhaps trying this time to stay with 15 players throughout the match to offer more offensively.
The powerful third-line center Billy Vunipola will have served his suspension. Not Farrell, but English supporters shouldn’t worry too much. They have Ford as a great backup. Even though he probably won’t match Wilkinson’s 14 drop goals scored in the World Cup, the thirty-year-old might be tempted to chase another record: the five drop goals scored in the same match by South African Jannie de Beer in 1999. Against England.