|Pumas inside centre, Santi Fernández delivering a pass|
Argentina faced England in the first Rugby World Cup match for both sides on September 10 at the new, indoor stadium in Dunedin. A similar performace from the first half vs Wales was repeated by the South Americans as Argentina had the better of play. In front of a capacity crowd Argentina seemed to be returning to the form of four years earlier when Argentina famously knocked over France to send massive warnings to everyone in the first match of Rugby World Cup 2007. Argentina came close to scoring a try on several occassions early in the match. Tighthead prop, Juan Figallo was an inch away from the try line while captain, Felipe Contepomi went very close before being tackled and being subsequently forced from the match due a rib injury. He was forced from the field as was Argentina´s outside centre, Gonzalo Tiesi. The pair were replaced by Marcelo Bosch and Juan Imhoff with both replacements putting in quality performances. Bosch played at both centre and flyhalf during the match as he exchanged duties with Santiago Fernández. He made one clean linebreak which very nearly resulted in a try.
England were able to defend well but did give away penalties. Contepomi and Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga were both used to kick the goals but neither kicker was able to kick to his usual standards with both missing kicks they would usually be expected to get. England´s ace kicker, Jonny Wilkinson also had an off-night and complained that the Gilbert balls used a the tournament were poor in quality. With so many missed kicks the scores remainied low throughout the match and it took a late try to replacement English scrumhalf, Ben Youngs, to shake up the match as England took the lead for the first time in the contest. Argentina responded by playing its most attacking rugby of the night with Imhoff going close. He was playing in just his second test match and was still an amateur player but showed why Santiago Phelan had selected him. Right winger, Gonzalo Camacho also had a strong match as England´s fancied wingers were kept quiet.
England´s four point win meant Argentina picked up a bonus point for losing by less than seven points. It meant that every other match was a must win, starting seven days latter in Invercargill as Los Pumas took on Romania. The match will be detailed in seven days time.