Rowell critical as England are out-kicked

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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

Buenos Aires 23 England 21

Jack Rowell, the England coach, admitted that his side's goal-kicking failures cost them victory against Buenos Aires in the second match of their tour of Argentina.

Alex King and Mark Mapletoft missed eight successive kicks between them, Mapletoft having four apparently unmissable opportunities in the dying minutes to overhaul the Argentinians. He sent three penalties wide, however, with another striking the upright.

"You cannot expect to win matches with a strike-rate of just 20 per cent," Rowell said. "Our goal-kicking just wasn't good enough tonight. It was a game we could and should have won."

The captain Phil de Glanville and the pack leader Ben Clarke both left the field injured and England will need to take stock before next Saturday's first Test.

England started briskly enough, King kicking two penalties in the first few minutes. But it was downhill from then on for King, who fluffed all his remaining chances - three conversions and a penalty. He was replaced late in the second half by Mapletoft, who wasted four penalties of his own.

The Buenos Aires kicker, Jose Cilley, was more successful, with five penalties and one drop goal, missing only the conversion for a try by Tomas Solari. Ben Clark responded with a try of his own a minute later to tie the match at 11-11 at half time.

De Glanville also scored a try to keep England in contention, and Jim Mallinder capped a solid display with a try in the corner.

Argentina are to include four foreign-based players in the first Test. The Bath forwards Federico Mendez and German Llanes take their place in an experienced line-up which also features the props Mouricio Reggiardio, of the French side Castres, and Gauteng Lion's Roberto Grau.

England: Tries Clark, de Glanville, Mallinder; Pen King 2. Buenos Aires: Tries Solari; Pens Cilley 5. Drop Cilley.

Buenos Aires: D Cuesta-Silva; O Bartolucci, J Orengo, E Simone, T Solari; J-L Cilley, N Fernandez-Miranda; F Werner, J-J Angelillo, M Urbano, G Ugartemendia, P Sporleder, C Viel, P Camerlinckx, I Fernandez-Lobbe.

ENGLAND: J Mallinder (Sale); J Sleightholme (Bath), N Greenstock (Wasps), P de Glanville (Bath, capt), D Rees (Sale); A King (Wasps), A Gomarsall; K Yates (Bath), R Cockerill (Leicester), J Mallett (Bath), D Baldwin (Sale), N Redman (Bath), B Clarke (Richmond), T Diprose (Sarcens), S Ojomoh (Bath). Replacements: M Mapletoft ((Gloucester) for King, 60; M Corry (Bristol) for Clarke, 68; J Baxendell (Sale) for de Glanville, 74

Referee: I Rogers (South Africa).

Argentina (v England, Saturday): E Jurado; T Solari, E Simone, L Arbizu (capt), F Soler; G Quesada, N Fernandez-Miranda; M Reggiardo, F Mendez, R Grau, G Llanes, P Sporleder, R Martin, P Bouza, P Camerlinckx.

Leicester are expected to announce the signing of two internationals today. One is the Fijian threequarter Waisale Serevi, who captained his country to victory in this year's Rugby Sevens World Cup. Serevi, 29, who has 18 caps, is thought to have been offered a two-year deal at around pounds 60,000 a year. The other player is rumoured to be Serevi's compatriot, Manika Vunibaka, who plays on the wing.