Ford spurs England to Test series triumph

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By 2017-06-19

(AFP) Fly-half George Ford starred as England defeated Argentina 35-25 in a Santa Fe thriller Saturday to clinch a 2-0 victory in the two-Test series.

The tourists, level at 25-25 with 16 minutes left, finished stronger as substitute prop Will Collier barged over for a try that Ford converted.

Ford sealed success for an English side lacking 30 of their best players, primarily due to British and Irish Lions call-ups, with a drop goal six minutes from time.

The playmaker excelled in both Tests, scoring 23 points in the first last weekend and 15 in the second.

Argentina were left to rue three missed shots at goal in Santa Fe from usually ultra-accurate fly-half Nicolas Sanchez.

It was the 20th victory in 21 Tests for England, with all but one achieved since wily Australian Eddie Jones succeeded Stuart Lancaster as coach.

Lancaster was dumped after hosts England made a first-round exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup, finishing third in the "group of death" behind Australia and Wales.

England scored first when Charlie Ewels took a pass from fellow lock Joe Launchbury to power over the line and Ford converted.

It took Argentina only three minutes to level as a cross-field move ended with full-back Joaquin Tuculet bursting between two opponents to score and Sanchez converted.

Ford and Sanchez exchanged penalties, before another successful kick at goal by the Argentine playmaker gave the hosts a 13-10 lead midway through the opening half.

The first Sanchez penalty was initially ruled wide by the assistant referees only for the decision to be reversed after the television match official watched replays of the kick.

A dominant Argentina were well worth their lead, but found themselves five points behind following a three-minute purple patch from the tourists.

Ford levelled via a penalty on 29 minutes at a near-full 33,000-seat Estadio Brigadier Estanislao Lopez.

The highlight of the opening half followed soon after as England full-back Mike Brown leapt to intercept a Sanchez cross-kick and raced away to send centre Piers Francis over.

Ford saw his conversion fly right and wide, his first miss of the match and only the second of the series.

England had two let-offs early in the second half as Sanchez fluffed a penalty and Jonny May dodged a yellow card for a late, high tackle on rival winger Ramiro Moyano.

The first score of the half came on 52 minutes when a Francis grubber kick was blocked and flanker Pablo Matera kicked the ball, then caught it and dived over.

Sanchez fluffed the conversion attempt -- his third consecutive miss of the match.

A seesaw struggle took two more turns around the hour as scrum-half Danny Care finished off a Brown break after a midfield turnover and Ford converted for a seven-point advantage.

The lead lasted just three minutes until centre Jeronimo de la Fuente broke clear and sold a dummy before sending winger Emiliano Boffelli in for a try Sanchez converted.




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