Eddie Jones declared England are “exactly where we wanted to be” after securing a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with victory over Argentina on Saturday.
Jones side’ ran out comfortable 39-10 winners at Tokyo Stadium following a first-half red card for Tomas Lavanini, the Pumas second rower dismissed for a high challenge on England captain Owen Farrell.
Ben Youngs scored one of his side’s six tries on his 92nd appearance – taking him past Jonny Wilkinson to become his country’s most-capped back – while substitute Jack Nowell also crossed on his return from injury.
While admitting his team were a little rusty after two “easy” games in the group, head coach Jones was pleased to seal progression from Pool C with a game to spare.
“We are exactly where we wanted to be,” the Australian said. “We have 15 points after three games and have played in front of a fantastic crowd at Tokyo Stadium.
“We were a bit rusty after two easy games and a long break – that came out in the first half. In the second half, we had a bit better rhythm.”
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Youngs and Billy Vunipola did not appear for the second half, though Jones dismissed concerns over the latter’s fitness.
Asked if Vunipola was taken off as a precaution, he replied with a smile: “He had too much Kobe beef mate!”
While England will expect to take on France next weekend in a battle to decide who will finish top of the table, Argentina are seemingly set to exit at the round-robin stage.
Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma praised the way his players stuck to their task following the 17th-minute dismissal of Lavanini, with Matias Moroni running in a consolation try late in the second half.
However, the defeat means Argentina now need Les Bleus to lose to Tonga if they are to have any hope of joining England in the last eight.
“Obviously after the red card it became a little bit hard,” Ledesma said.
“We made many easy mistakes which we could have avoided, especially in the second half, we couldn’t build momentum.
“We were with a man less, so we needed clear ball. We had a couple of good plays that we couldn’t do, and obviously in the second half it became too hard for the boys.
“The commitment from them was incredible. It became too difficult, but that never stopped fighting.”
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