In two years time, England v Argentina will hold far greater ramifications, but this Saturday’s showdown with the Pumas will be a fine gauge of Eddie Jones’s squad’s progress as the countdown to the 2019 Rugby World Cup begins.
Argentina open the Autumn International series for England just weeks after the announcements of the fixtures for the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and Jones will be eager to lay down an early marker against their pool rivals.
After spending a week with a wider squad training in Portugal, Jones brought his merry men back to British shores with an unusual, yet shrewd move as he lined up a training session for the forward pack against the Wales forwards in Bristol on Monday morning.
It was a 40-minute session consisting of scrums and line-outs, the outcome of which Jones and scrum coach Neal Hatley both said they were pleased with, but moreover, it shows Jones is continually seeking innovative ways to advance this England squad.
Jones himself has been outspoken about the flaws in his squad, claiming they are not fit enough to win a Rugby World Cup, yet they have two years to correct that and moves like this will offer a great opportunity for England to gain an edge.
Looking ahead to Argentina, Jones is boosted by a quick return from injury for Wasps and British & Irish Lions winger Elliott Daly, with fellow wingmen Jack Nowell and Jonny May already ruled out, underlining the head coach’s point about the lack of fitness in the squad.
The Pumas travel to Twickenham on Saturday on the back of a winless Rugby Championship campaign, while England – albeit their summer success was made by a developmental squad – will be seeking to back up successive victories over the visitors back in Argentina in June.
England head into this Autumn series, which will later see them lock horns with Australia and Samoa, favourites, but a win alone will not satisfy Jones, this must be a performance worthy of champions to highlight the advancements are being made.