We know what we’re good at – England boss Jones unmoved by Argentina taunts

Eddie Jones insists England are too smart to be outwitted by scheming Argentina’s claim that his World Cup contenders play boring rugby.

Pumas talisman Agustin Creevy levelled the accusation earlier in the week to ignite hostilities ahead of the crunch Pool C showdown at Tokyo Stadium where victory will propel England into the knockout phase.

Jones recalls the 1991 World Cup final when Will Carling’s team deviated from their forward-based strength in favour of a more expansive game after being taunted by Australia, who went on to triumph 12-6 at Twickenham.

England lost the 1991 World Cup final to Australia
England lost the 1991 World Cup final to Australia (John Stillwell/PA Archive)

“It’s the old two-card trick, another one of those great old coaches, Bob Dwyer in 1991, threw that one out and there was a response then from the England side,” Jones said.

“Maybe if they hadn’t played like that they would have two World Cups on their sleeves. There are many different ways to play the game.

“I give you a book and you think it is interesting, I give it to someone else and he thinks it is rubbish, so what is right? Nothing is right.

Agustin Creevy
England face Agustin Creevy’s Argentina next in their World Cup campaign (Lynne Cameron/PA)

“Find a way to play the game effectively – that is the great thing about our game. We know what we’re good at.”

England are now five matches away from winning the World Cup and enter the first real test of their title credentials at full strength with marauding prop Mako Vunipola and tackle-busting wing Jack Nowell ready to make their Japan 2019 debuts.

Vunipola and Nowell missed the Pool C victories over Tonga and USA because of respective hamstring and ankle injuries but are deemed fit enough to make an impact from the bench.

RUGBYU England Curry
Rugby World Cup Tom Curry v Pablo Matera.  Editable versions of this graphic are available via PA Graphics or your account manager. Infographic by PA Graphics

Vunipola, the game’s foremost loosehead, has played just 17 minutes of rugby since May 11 after his comeback against Ireland during the warm-up Tests was aborted due to damaged scar tissue, but he is now ready to join his brother Billy in the pack.

“Mako, at his best, is probably the best loosehead in the world and to have the calmness that he brings….” Jones said.

“He’s a senior counsel for our team. We have got a reasonably young team and Mako has that calmness.

Mako Vunipola
Mako Vunipola is available again for England (Adam Davy/PA)

“You’ve always got two brothers in Mako and Billy and one’s a bit more volatile, the other is a bit more settled, so Mako was always up at the front with the parents and Billy was in the back, screaming.

“Billy is great for us because he has got that fire and temperament and you want that from your number eight.

“You look at the history of the World Cups and they’ve always been won by big number eights.”

Nowell has not played since starring for Exeter in last season’s Gallagher Premiership final due to his troublesome ankle and an operation to have his appendix removed, but he will be unleashed upon Argentina as a hard-running impact substitute.

“I know I was criticised for saying this before, but I believe Jack could play anywhere in the back row to anywhere in the backline competently.

“He has amazing fighting spirit. He works so hard for the team. He is just a really good team-man.”

Henry Slade ➡️ Jack Nowell = 🏉

The @exeterchiefs connection for @englandrugby#SCOvENG#GuinnessSixNationspic.twitter.com/e1iXR4iq6i

— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 16, 2019

Jones has opted for the openside flanker combination of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, the duo he dubbed ‘Kamikaze Kids’, in the back row with Lewis Ludlam deputising on the bench.

At 21-years-old, Curry is the squad’s youngest player and the least popular room-mate due to his sleepwalking – a fact revealed by Underhill.

The cat-loving Sale flanker must tame Pablo Matera, the Argentina captain and driving force who also lines-up at number six.

Flankers Sam Underhill (left) and Tom Curry will line up in England's pack against the Pumas
Flankers Sam Underhill (left) and Tom Curry (centre) will line up in England’s pack against the Pumas (Adam Davy/PA)

“I would like to go to a cat cafe at some point. I am a big cat fan,” said Curry, in reference to the famous cat restaurants in Tokyo.

“There is a cat island, a cat shrine in Miyazaki that no-one wanted to go to. I think there was a ferry but everyone said no to that. It might have been the company though!”

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