ENGLAND (25) 32
- Tries: Strettle, Twelvetrees, Morgan, Vunipola
- Cons: Burns 3
- Pens: Burns 2
ARGENTINA (3) 3
- Pens: Moyano
A first-half display of attacking rugby proved enough for England to see off an ineffectual Argentina in Salta in the first Test of their summer tour.
David Strettle, Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan crossed as England kept the ball alive in an enterprising opening.
Argentina rallied after the interval but could not convert long spells in the England 22 into points.
Instead Billy Vunipola scored the only try of a disjointed second 40 minutes with a powerful pick-and-go.
An Argentina team without the likes of Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Imhoff looked far short of the side that drew with South Africa in the autumn.
But the result – and especially the first-half performance – will please England coach Stuart Lancaster, who was without several of his own big names because of the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.
The England coach gave debuts to both Matt Kvesic and Christian Wade, with the latter particularly impressive, while the returning number eight Morgan was a muscular presence in the loose.
Despite both sides’ early endeavours in ideal conditions, the first points came from two long-range penalties from Freddie Burns as England’s forwards put their Argentine counterparts under pressure in the first two scrums.
Martin Bustos Moyano fluffed a chance to halve the deficit from the tee, before smart work from England second row Dave Attwood, stealing the ball at the line-out, led to a try at the other end.
Wade, making his England debut after a stellar season in which he scored 18 tries in 26 matches for Wasps, came in off his wing to burst between two defenders and set up the position from which Jonathan Joseph was able to put in Strettle over in the corner.
A sublime team second try followed as Twelvetrees found Morgan on his shoulder before himself popping up outside Wade a phase later to score.
Morgan muscled over after more quick hands as an Argentina side that lacked its traditional set-piece strength and reliable goal-kicking struggled to get into the match.
Bustos Moyano missed two presentable chances from the tee as Argentina’s resurgence at the start of the second half failed to make an impression on the scoreboard.
England turned the tables as a length-of-the-field move, fuelled by breaks from centres Twelvetrees and Joseph, came within a Strettle fumble of a fourth try.
But, after spending the first half on the front foot, the tourists had to dig in in defence as they were confined to their own 22 until the final 10 minutes.
Courtney Lawes’s yellow card for not releasing a tackled man had left England a man short and once the Northampton forward returned to the field, England applied some late pressure.
Ben Foden’s half-break almost took him over before fellow replacement Vunipola ploughed through to cap an impressive debut off the bench and bring the match to a close.
The second and final Test takes place in Buenos Aires on 15 June.
Argentina: Bustos Moyano, Orlando, Tiesi, Contepomi, Montero,Urdapilleta, Landajo, Henn, Garcia Veiga, Bustos, Lozada, Galarza, Farias Cabello, Macome, Leonardi.
Replacements: Agulla for Orlando (58), Ascarate for Urdapilleta (58), Vergallo for Landajo (68), Roan for Henn (51), Guidone for Garcia Veiga (55), Gomez Kodela for Bustos (67), Vallejos for Lozada (62), De la Vega for Farias Cabello (72).
England: Brown, Wade, Joseph, Twelvetrees, Strettle, Burns, Dickson, Marler, Webber, Wilson, Launchbury, Attwood, Wood, Kvesic, Morgan.
Replacements: Foden for Brown (68), Eastmond for Joseph (66), Wigglesworth for Dickson (54), H. Thomas for Marler (75), Paice for Webber (68), Doran-Jones for Wilson (73), Lawes for Attwood (54), Vunipola for Morgan (68).
Sin Bin: Lawes (69).
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand).
Original story: BBC Sport