England begin their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign this Saturday September 9th, as they take on Argentina in Marseille, for their opening contest in Pool D. Steve Borthwick’s men have a week to prepare for Los Pumas, who are opponents that certainly should not be overlooked.
Despite not carrying the might of South Africa, or the instantly recognisable threats of the All Blacks, Argentina are definite dark horses to progress into the latter stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. A lop-sided draw has put World Rugby’s top five ranked nations on the opposing bracket (Ireland, France, South Africa, New Zealand and Scotland), with Argentina flying high in sixth under Head Coach Michael Cheika.
Los Pumas are enjoying some excellent recent form, with a Rugby Championship victory against Eddie Jones’ Australia optimising this best. A narrow one-point defeat (22-21) to the full-strength Springboks, further reinforced their status as favourites, heading into this opening match against an underperforming England side, who has just lost to a tier two side for the first time, in Fiji.
If Argentina perform up their recent standards at the competition, there is a definite claim for Los Pumas to make their first ever Rugby World Cup Final. Progress out of the pool would see Argentina take on the winner or runner up of Pool C, with Fiji, Wales, Georgia or the Wallabies all candidates from the unpredictable group. The semi-final could see an additional winnable match, as Argentina could take on another one from this quartet, or perhaps even England or Japan for a spot in the final.
Argentina are definitely England’s toughest pool stage opponent, with previous fixtures generating some hard-fought battles between the two sides. Los Pumas and England have met 25 times throughout their history, with England’s predominantly successful track record dating back to 1981. England have won 19 of the encounters, with Argentina securing five wins and the spoils shared with just one draw.