England coach Eddie Jones is happy to be handed a selection dilemma as he aims to complete a 2-0 series whitewash of Argentina.
Denied the services of no fewer than 30 players due to injury, suspension and Lions calls, Jones handed out 10 new caps for Saturday’s first Test in San Juan and was delighted with their contribution to a 38-34 victory.
It was the most number of new England caps since 10 players made their debut against Wales in 1956 and Jones could introduce yet more new faces for the second Test in Santa Fe next Saturday, with eight more untried players in his 32-strong squad.
One man looking certain to be included is former captain Chris Robshaw, who sat out the opening game with an ankle injury but is set to win his 56th cap.
“Chris Robshaw has really progressed well,” Jones told a media briefing at the team hotel in San Juan. “He should be in full training tomorrow. We anticipate he will be available for selection.”
In order to accommodate Robshaw, Jones must decide whether to leave out Newcastle flanker Mark Wilson, who deputised superbly on debut, or Sale’s Tom Curry, who also caught the eye as he became the youngest player to start a match for England since 1927.
Wilson, 27, opted to tour despite his wife expecting their second child this month and, according to Jones, grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
“He played well, played very well,” Jones said. “It was a great debut and it’s a nice story about him. He probably thought he wouldn’t play for England. It shows you there is not just the one route in rugby.
“It shows you the character of the guy that he has left his wife and kid. It is a real kick for Newcastle rugby in terms of having a representative in the England side. I went up to see (Newcastle director of rugby) Dean (Richards) before or after the Six Nations and he really rated him. He is someone we have always looked at.”
He added: “He is a very similar player to Robshaw, one of those tough, uncompromising, glue-type players who does the unseen things. He has been a real revelation, a very selfless guy who is always helping other people, always doing things for the team, works really hard.”
Jones also has a big decision to make on rugby league convert Denny Solomona, who scored the dramatic last-minute winning try on his debut but only after enduring a nightmare start to his international rugby union career with a couple of defensive blunders that enabled the Pumas to open up a 31-23 lead.
Jones believes the Super League record tryscoring winger was affected by the occasion and could face competition from two other uncapped players, Nathan Earle and Harry Mallinder for a spot in the second Test.
Jones said: “I think he was so nervous. You watch him and he misses the tackle, he gets up and he stumbles again. I think he was just so nervous – the big occasion got to him. But the great thing is he bounced back. We will have a look for next week.
“We have got a few other guys in the squad who have been performing well at training. Nathan Earle and Harry Mallinder have all been doing well so there is good competition in that area.”