England vs Argentina, Rugby World Cup 2023

Argentina get to grips with Marcus Smith during their stunning 30-29 comeback win at Twickenham last autumn – EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Neil Hall

England will face Argentina in their opening match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France in what is expected to be the defining clash of Pool D.

The fixture will be the fourth time the sides have met at the World Cup, with England boasting a 3-0 record after matches in 1995 (24-18), 2011 (13-9) and 2019 (39-10).

Argentina have appeared in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural edition in New Zealand and Australia in 1987. Their best result was third place in 2007, in France, when they beat the hosts in their opening match and again in the third-place play-off.

England will be without captain Owen Farrell, who is serving a four-match ban following World Rugby’s successful appeal against his downgraded red card for a high tackle on Taine Basham. Billy Vunipola will also be absent as he serves the final leg of a three-match suspension, and expectations are low following a humiliating defeat to Fiji which rounded off England’s dismal tournament preparation.

When is it?

England will play Argentina on Saturday, September 9, with the match kicking off at 8pm (BST, 9pm local time).

Where is it?

At the Stade de Marseille – the iconic venue that is home to Olympique de Marseille football club in France’s Ligue 1. It hosted matches during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, when it staged two quarter-finals, as well as the 1938 and 1998 football World Cups.

France have played 12 rugby Tests at the venue and it also hosted the 2022 Champions Cup Final. It will have a capacity of 67,847 for the RWC.

The Stade de Marseille
The Stade de Marseille will host four pool matches and two quarter-finals at RWC 2023 – AFP/Nicolas Tucat

Who is the referee?

Mathieu Raynal will take charge for this one. The only French referee at the tournament, with Pierre Brousset named as an assistant, Raynal took charge of the two matches the previous Rugby World Cup in Japan four years ago.

How to watch on TV

ITV have exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. We will update you with specific channels for each match at the tournament once they are announced by the broadcaster.

Radio commentary will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC says there will be a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Amazon Prime is broadcasting England’s first three World Cup warm-up games.

What is the recent history between the teams?

At the last World Cup, England sealed their place in the quarter-finals by beating Argentina 39-10 in Tokyo in their third pool match, running in six tries against a side who had Tomas Lavanini sent off early for an illegal tackle on Owen Farrell. The result also meant Argentina failed to get into the knockout stage for the first time in 16 years.

More recently, Argentina scored a famous victory over England at Twickenham in the 2022 Autumn Internationals, with a 30-29 comeback win in front of 80,000 spectators.

What are England’s other pool matches?

Who is in the England squad?

England’s squad selection for the Rugby World Cup was severely disrupted by injuries and suspensions. Steve Borthwick named his 33-man squad on August 7. But after that date:

You can read Will Greenwood’s verdict on the men who have been selected.

What is the latest news on Argentina?

In the Rugby Championship, Argentina followed up their opening 41-12 defeat by New Zealand with a stunning 34-31 victory over Australia in Sydney, prompting Eddie Jones to lose his temper. They then went agonisingly close to upsetting South Africa at Ellis Park in a performance that will have raised significant alarm within the England camp.

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