World Rugby

The Last Dance: England And Argentina Battle For Bronze At RWC2023

The Last Dance: England And Argentina Battle For Bronze At RWC2023

Get ready for an epic showdown. England will take on Argentina for the bronze medal at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Here's a preview of their upcoming match.

Oct 27, 2023 by Philip Bendon
The Last Dance: England And Argentina Battle For Bronze At RWC2023

As the 2023 Rugby World Cup edges closer to conclusion, England and Argentina will get the final weekend's action underway Friday night in the bronze-medal match.

While the battle for third place may not carry the same level of exhilaration and anticipation as the ultimate showdown, there are several key storylines to follow throughout, as the two sides play a rematch of their opening-round fixture from nearly two months ago.

On that night, a 14-man England ground out a dominant 27-10 victory, despite losing Ben Curry to an early red card. The win was due in no small part to the remarkable performance of fly-half George Ford, who scored all of England's points, with six penalties and three drop goals.

Argentina simply was abysmal that evening and, in reality, failed to fire a single shot, as England physically dominated them from the first minute.

This result would see Los Pumas have to fight their way through the pool, a feat they accomplished with aplomb.

Winning their next three fixtures with relative ease, Michael Cheika's side would upset Wales in the quarterfinals to set up a semifinal meeting with New Zealand's All Blacks.

Unfortunately for the South Americas, it was clear that despite their run to the semifinal, they were a step below the All Blacks, who ran roughshod enroute to a 44-6 victory.

England, on the other hand, went toe to toe with reigning world champion South Africa in what was a slugfest affair a night later.

Losing a heartbreaker in the dying minutes, despite having been the better side for the majority of the match, Steve Borthwick's side put in its most impressive showing in four years.

Thus, this evening's fixture is a clash of two sides seemingly on different trajectories. 

As was expected to be the case, neither side truly is a top-4 team in the world, given the disparity in this year's tournament. Avoiding any of the top-5 ranked teams until the semifinal stage, the two teams remain somewhat influx.

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Making several changes to his starting lineup from the one that clashed with the Springboks, it would appear as though Borthwick is using this fixture as the first in his new era.

Despite several legends of English Rugby announcing their retirement from the international game, Borthwick has avoided making any sentimental selections.

That starts in the front row, where young hooker Theo Dan gets the start ahead of veteran Jamie George, who played the full 80 minutes a week ago.

Alongside Dan, Ellis Genge and Will Stuart start in the prop positions, with Bevan Rodd and Dan Cole on the bench.

In the second row, 23-year-old Ollie Chessum returns to the starting lineup alongside Maro Itoje, with David Ribbans on the bench.

The back row sees Sam Underhill return to the No. 7 shirt, as Ben Curry shifts to six in place of the retiring former captain Courtney Lawes whilst Ben Earle continues at number eight.

In the halfbacks, experienced duo Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell add yet another cap to their storied partnership in what will be Youngs' final game in an England shirt.

Outside of Farrell and Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant start once again in the centers, with Ollie Lawrence on the bench.

The back three see's a complete reshuffle, with the electric Henry Aundell returning for the first time since his five-try outing against Chile. 

Joining Arundell in the back three is Freddie Steward, who shifts from fullback to wing in order to accommodate the return of Marcus Smith.

Argentina, on the other hand, has made just three changes from the side that was beaten by the All Blacks in the semifinal.

Pedro Rubiolo starts in the second-row whilst Tomas Cubelli is named at scrum-half and Jeronimo de la Fuente will begin the game at inside centre.


Having been so comprehensively beaten by England in Round 1, and then again by New Zealand in the semifinal, Friday's fixture is about redemption for Los Pumas, who like England, see several stalwart players retire. 

Test centurions Agustin Creevy and Nicholas Sanchez have given so much to the Argentine jersey over the years that it feels inconceivable that their last match would be such a depressing one.

With so much on the line for both sides, it feels unlikely that either side won't turn up and put their best foot forward.

If this is the case, England would appear to hold the edge in terms of quality. The question is, how much the team's titanic struggle with the Springboks took out of the players physically. 

With Borthwick having made such a raft of changes, one gets the sense that last week's starters were running on fumes. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how quickly the bench is used to get those starters off. 

One area England holds a clear advantage, however, is at the set piece. Despite losing last weekend's clash to the Springboks because of a scrum, the English set piece obliterated Argentina in Round 1. Since then, Los Pumas do not appear to have made many strides and, as such, it should prove a factor once again.

For this reason, and the tactical nous of England captain Owen Farrell, they will get by Los Pumas in a reasonably tight fixture. England by six.



15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Pedro Rubiolo, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela, 2 Julian Montoya (c), 1 Thomas Gallo

Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matías Moroni


15 Marcus Smith, 14 Freddie Steward, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Henry Arundell, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Ellis Genge

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Dan Cole, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Ollie Lawrence