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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Ford ready to take starring role against Argentina

England line-up primed for running game

England number eight Nathan Hughes caught the eye with his powerful carries in Argentina
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Autumn International
Sky Sports Action & Main Event, 3pm Saturday

Argentina were caught out by England in the summer when Eddie Jones’s men, minus a core of Lions, ran in eight tries to seven in two high-scoring clashes to claim the series spoils.

The Pumas had expected England to present their usual physical challenge with an emphasis on kicking but instead were run off their feet.

And there may be more of the same at Twickenham as coach Eddie Jones, with his hand admittedly forced by injury, has named a team who can play to a similar pattern.

Powerhouse ball-carrier Billy Vunipola, usually one of the first names on the England teamsheet, is injured so Nathan Hughes of Wasps starts at number eight. With Owen Farrell rested and Ben Te’o injured, silky playmaker Henry Slade starts at inside centre. Both played in the summer Tests and caught the eye of their hosts.

There is lot of flair and incision in the backline but the player to watch could be fly-half George Ford, who seemed to relish breaking out of his partnership with Farrell in the summer taking on more of a dominant role, and that is a pattern he has followed now he is reunited with scrum-half Ben Youngs for club as well as country.

Ford crossed against Argentina in the summer and is a big price to go in again.

Other Autumn internationals

Wales v Australia

Ireland v South Africa

Scotland v Samoa

France v New Zealand

The handicap of around 20 points seems high given England have an unfamiliar line-up and are up against an Argentina side who have battled their way through the Rugby Championship, but the Pumas seem to have lost their way a little.

They reached the semi-final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and followed that up with wins in their first two Tests of 2016, against Italy and France. But since then they have won just three of 20 Tests and two of those were against Japan and Georgia.

George Ford to score a try

1pt 7-1 Betfair, Paddy Power

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Ford crossed against Argentina in the summer and is a big price to go in again
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