England coach Eddie Jones has kicked off the mind games ahead of his side’s Test series against Argentina.
With 30 players unavailable because of injury, suspension and the demands of the British and Irish Lions, Jones has taken one of the youngest touring parties ever assembled by England and is set to hand out a host of new caps in Saturday’s opening game in San Juan.
England, the world number two ranked nation, will still go into the game as favourites against the ninth-ranked Pumas, but Jones insists the hosts have most to lose.
“Argentina are under a lot of pressure to win this game,” the Australian said. “They didn’t have a great 2016 and they know they are playing an under-strength England side, so all the pressure is on Argentina.
“And, when you are under pressure, you can do one of two things. You can become even more adventurous or you can revert back to type.
“Everyone eats steaks here, everyone wants to bullfight, everyone wants to scrum, so it is a matter of where they go and we are not sure.
“Our preparation has got to be so that we are prepared for either of those. They might start to run the ball from anywhere so we don’t know.”
Jones also subtly suggested Welsh referee Nigel Owens would need to tightly police the front row of the scrum.
“We have got a very good referee in Nigel Owens, probably the best referee in the game,” Jones said. “Super Rugby sides tend to scrum quite passively, but I am sure the Pumas on Saturday won’t be scrummaging passively.
“It will be a whole different ball game. We are going to go with a reasonably young front row, which means they have got no fear, which is fantastic for us.”
Jones will announce his team on Thursday after moving camp to San Juan.