England’s rocky road to the Rugby World Cup has most bookmakers offering little either way on Steve Borthwick’s men or Michael Cheika’s Argentina.
England vs Argentina 20:00, Preview:
Argentina have looked every bit a team on the up while England have endured a very public slide away from the top.
The Pumas are in the rare position of being assigned favourites for the main event of Pool D, based on a strong year under the guidance of Cheika and their 30-29 victory at Twickenham in November.
England, meanwhile, have gone into freefall following a run of five defeats in six Tests that no longer makes qualification for the knockout phase appear to be the formality it once was.
Borthwick has named Alex Mitchell at scrum-half and Tom Curry at openside for the Marseille showdown, while Courtney Lawes will lead the team in the absence of the suspended Owen Farrell.
Offering hope to England supporters is the selection of Mitchell ahead of Danny Care and Ben Youngs, with the 26-year-old half-back a more dynamic presence than his veteran rivals for the jersey.
The tempo and energy brought by Mitchell, both through his delivery and with the ball in hand, was one of the few highlights to emerge from a chastening defeat by Fiji last month.
Remarkably he starts in England’s biggest game since the 2019 World Cup final despite being overlooked for their original 33-man squad, with an injury to Jack van Poortvliet offering his route to France.
The bookies are on the fence with this one but backing the Pumas to win by 11-20 points shows promise.
Jonny May appears to be the big threat to the tryline in the England lineup and a good pick for the first try.
The carrying threat of Thomas Gallo makes him someone who is a great outside pick to get over the line first for Argentina.
Meanwhile Emiliano Boffelli is a great bet for the first points of any kind as both a winger and the Pumas chosen goalkicker.
England vs Argentina 20:00, Predictions:
Argentina to win by 11-20 points
Emiliano Boffelli to score first points
Jonny May to score the first try