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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Skipper Creevy ready to step up to the mark for Pumas pack

England new boys face baptism of fire

Argentina skipper Agustin Creevy is the fulcrum of Los Jaguares pack
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Summer Tour
BBC2, 8.15pm Saturday

Argentina earned their reputation on the world stage as a strong scrummaging side and the wisdom was always that you have to take them on up front, but England go into battle with one of the most inexperienced packs they have ever selected.

Four years ago under Stuart Lancaster England headed to Argentina missing ten Lions, but they still had plenty of seasoned campaigners in their pack against a second-string Pumas side.

The England youngsters lining up in San Juan may well follow in the footsteps of Joe Marler, Courtney Lawes and Billy Vunipola, who took their chances on that tour in 2013 and were selected by the Lions this year.

But England captain Dylan Hartley lines up against the Pumas in a front row made up of Ellis Genge and Harry Williams, neither of whom have made a Test start, while on the bench Jack Singleton is also in uncharted waters. 

There are ten new caps in all, three in the starting pack while loose-head Ellis Genge has appeared just once off the bench, and when you look at the experience in the backline, it is pretty clear where England will be vulnerable.

Argentina have moved on from the one-dimensional side of past years, and the formation of the Jaguares Super Rugby side should alleviate the problems in the past of drawing a Test team together from around the world at short notice.

But the Jaguares have been in pretty poor form in the last two months, winning just one of seven matches, and even that one win came against Japanese side the Sunwolves in Buenos Aires, where the hosts were trailing with ten minutes to go.

Skipper Agustin Creevy stepped in to grab one of the crucial late tries and he could be worth following again.

Although the young England pack shouldn't be overrun, Creevy is a seasoned operator close to the line and the Pumas hooker won't be shy of taking matters into his own hands.

The Pumas are narrow favourites and while their form, and that of the Jaguares, makes them look worth swerving, it's hard to know how this England team will gel and how the new caps will respond to the intimidating environment.

A Creevy to score a try
1pt 11-2 Betfair, Paddy Power

There are ten new caps in all, three of those in the starting pack
E.W. Terms
Sky bet