England to struggle to impose themselves on Argentina
While Stuart Lancaster has been deprived of England’s Lions contingent, hosts Argentina have also been hamstrung by injury concerns ahead of the first Test.
Key players Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan Imhoff, Juan Martín Hernández and Patricio Albacete are all unavailable for the home side, however the form of their guests and the current Lions tour gives them cause for optimism here.
While England scored seven tries in the tour’s opening game, a 41-21 victory against Consur XV, they were under pressure for substantial periods against what is a semi-professional side.
With Stuart Lancaster forced into fielding such an untested 15, England look short on the outright; greater value may well lie in the margins – the five-point market in particular should attract significant interest.
Argentina are 11/2 to win by between 1-5 points – which they did on England’s last visit to Salta in 2009 – and an enticing 8/1 to do so by 6-10.
Argentina managed a draw with South Africa on home soil in the Rugby Championship, before going down to Australia by just six points – it is worth noting that what was largely an ‘Australia B’ side beat England 20-14 at Twickenham in November, as did the Springboks.
England have not played a Test since suffering that comprehensive 30-3 defeat to Wales in the final match of the Six Nations, which has cast some doubt over the extent of their recovery under Stuart Lancaster.
If England are to claim victory, one would struggle to argue for the margin being beyond a handful of points. A 1-5 point victory for the tourists can be taken at 9/2, with a 6-10 point triumph available at the same price.
The handicap has been set at +/- 5 points, with Argentina 10/11 to prevail with a five point advantage; that certainly attempts against what is a relatively green England side.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing