Freddie Burns scored 19 points as England beat Argentina 51-26 in the second Test in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
Flyhalf Burns helped Stuart Lancaster’s team to become the first side from England to win a Test series in Argentina 2-0.
They scored seven tries with two earned by the pack forcing penalty tries and two for winger Marland Yarde on his Test debut, with Kyle Eastmond also scoring in his first international.
The win wraps up four out of four for Lancaster’s side who rested five senior internationals and had their British and Irish Lions missing from games against the Barbarians, a South American XV and two Tests against Argentina. Burns, on duty with Owen Farrell in Australia with the Lions, did his best to earn an Elite Player Squad place when Lancaster announces his 33-man party in August and several other youngsters gave the head coach food for thought. Eastmond and Yarde made major contributions as England made light of the absence of Christian Wade who was also called up by the Lions earlier in the day.
However, they were made to work hard by a determined Argentina team who did not perform in the first half of the previous Test.
“Argentina were much improved on last week and put us under pressure so it is even more pleasing to score 50 points. We thought there would be a reaction from Argentina,” Lancaster said.
“Getting the series win was the first objective. The second objective was to develop our options and looking at other selections and that has been achieved,” he said.
Lancaster’s side were comfortable 32-3 winners in Salta last week and by halftime they had built a 27-12 lead thanks mostly to two penalty tries earned by their pack in an effort spearheaded by loose head prop Joe Marler who was man of the match.
“He deserved it — he has been in extremely good form since he came into camp,” Lancaster said. “It shows the strength in depth we have in that position with Mako Vunipola and Alex Corbisiero with the Lions and Joe Marler doing what he is doing here.”
Trailing 12-6 with 31 minutes gone England forced the Argentine scrum into conceding five points with a big drive and Burns extended their lead when he stretched over on 40 minutes with two defenders handing onto him.
Just before the break England captain Tom Wood backed his forwards again when the Pumas conceded a penalty near the line and referee Nigel Owens gave them a second penalty try after another huge drive.
That put England 27-12 up at the break, but Argentina hit back with a score by winger Manual Montero before Rob Webber went over for England.
The home No. 8 Tomas Leonardi grabbed another score, but when Eastmond went through three defenders on his way to the line the game was sealed.
There was time for Yarde to add his second as England ran out winners against an Argentina team weakened by the loss of many of their European-based players.
S AFRICA V SCOTLAND
Scotland coach Scott Johnson slammed French referee Romain Poite after a 30-17 four-nation tournament defeat by hosts South Africa on Saturday.
The Australian was furious at the “handbags” sin binning of lock Jim Hamilton just past the hour mark after he pushed his hands into the face of Springbok second rower Eben Etzebeth.
The experienced Hamilton was sorely missed as he left the field with Scotland leading 17-13. When he returned they were three points behind after South Africa were awarded a penalty try.
“The punishment did not fit the crime as it was handbags stuff — the yellow card ruined a great game,” Johnson told reporters after Scotland suffered a second successive defeat in the three-week tournament.
“We were not playing tiddlywinks — rugby union is an aggressive sport. They have just asked me if I would like to cite anyone, so how about the television match official [TMO].”
Poite asked the TMO to study the incident before condemning Hamilton to 10 minutes sitting on the touchline watching Scotland give a brave showing in a Test they were expected to lose convincingly.
Ravaged by injuries after a 10-point loss to Samoa in Durban last weekend, a depleted Scottish side went at the Springboks from the kick-off and were 17-6 ahead at one stage of the second half.
“We had guys playing today who had no right to even be on the pitch,” he said, referring to forwards Euan Murray (tight-head prop) and Johnnie Beattie (back rower).
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer was unhappy with his side even though the three-try victory sealed a final on Saturday against Samoa, with Scotland playing Italy for third place in the first half of a Pretoria double-header.
“Scotland were written off all week and they came out to prove a point. They are a proud nation and their brave performance came as no surprise to me,” the coach said.
“Although I am not happy with this performance the guys learnt a lot from the Test. They needed a game like this where you have to grind out a result before we go into the Rugby Championship,” he said.
“Our defense was not good in the first half, but improved a lot after the break. The breakdown is a bigger concern and we need to study that area closely,” Meyer said.
In the first match of the day in Nelspruit, Samoa soaked up early pressure from Italy to build a seven-point half-time advantage before scoring four second-half tries for an ultimately convincing 39-10 victory.
CANADA V IRELAND
Winger Fergus McFadden scored a hat-trick of tries as Ireland routed Canada 40-14 at BMO Field late on Saturday.
Canada were confident of a first win over Ireland after the weakened tourists could only manage a narrow 15-12 win over the US in Houston, Texas, last weekend. A crowd of 20,396, the biggest for a Test in Canada, roared when Canada’s only try put the hosts 14-12 ahead in the 46th minute.
However, the vastly improved Irish hit back with four of their six tries.
McFadden helped set up the first try for fellow wing Andrew Trimble, marking his 50th cap, and McFadden scored the second off a cross-kick by flyhalf Ian Madigan.
However, James Pritchard kicked three penalties in the half to overtake Gareth Rees as Canada’s leading point-scorer in Tests to leave Canada only 9-12 behind at halftime.
Flanker Tyler Ardron barged over to begin the second half and give Canada the lead, but it lasted only nine minutes as Ireland flanker Kevin McLaughlin broke the defense and put in center Darren Cave. The forwards set up McFadden for his second try, flanker Tommy O’Donnell busted the line and ran 20m to the posts. McFadden completed the romp with his hat-trick try.
“We’re very disappointed,” Canada coach Kieran Crowley said. “We had a couple of things we wanted to play but we couldn’t do it under the pressure they put us on.”
Stand-in coach Les Kiss believed Ireland achieved what they wanted from a tour on which they capped six new players.
“From a coaching perspective it was certainly encouraging on a lot of fronts,” Kiss said.
“Sometimes the perception is you can come and get these tier two nations and run it away easily but they were both tough affairs,” he said.