Round-up: Debutants threaten England's old hands


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The Independent Online

England's holidaying absentees have been warned that they face a battle to regain their Test places after Stuart Lancaster's young guns maximised their opportunity in a 32-3 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

Christian Wade and Matt Kvesic enjoyed impressive debuts as they took over on the wing and at open-side flanker from Chris Ashton and Chris Robshaw, who have both been rested this summer. Billy Twelvetrees played with authority at inside centre and his performance will put the pressure on Brad Barritt when a full-strength England squad reconvenes for the autumn internationals.

One of Lancaster's stated aims on the tour of Argentina is to build competition for places and strengthen his selection options leading into the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The players are responding.

The Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan said: "We have got a lot of young lads and new people coming in who have been given an opportunity to put their marker down and stake a claim for the shirt. We want a competitive environment as a team because that is going to drive us towards our goal of the World Cup."

Morgan had a hand in the first two tries, scored by David Strettle and Twelvetrees, before crashing over for the third try himself as England stormed into a 25-0 lead. No England side has ever won a Test series in Argentina with a clean sweep; that is now the challenge that awaits them in Buenos Aires next weekend.

The Wales winger Liam Williams expects the debutants in the narrow victory over Japan on Saturday to have gained far more from their experience than they would have from a comfortable win. Seven new caps appeared in the 22-18 triumph in Osaka and Williams said: "You learn more from hard games like that when you're under pressure, away from home and playing in those conditions, than a 60-point win. That experience will stand everyone in good stead."

Scotland suffered their first ever defeat to Samoa in the opening match of the quadrangular tournament in Durban, going down 27-17. They face hosts South Africa on Saturday and coach Scott Johnson said: "We have to get better."