Hartley calls for England to finish job in Argentina

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  • Kick-off is at 8.15pm (BST) on BBC 2
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Dylan Hartley says preparation has intensified ahead of England’s second Test clash with Argentina in Santa Fe this weekend.

England secured a narrow 38-34 win last Saturday, courtesy of a late Denny Solomona score, and captain Hartley admits his side are primed for Los Pumas once more.

“Training has intensified, there is a collective effort and the squad are fighting to really drive the starting 15 on to get that final result on Saturday,” he said.

“We came here to win the series 2-0 and we’ve put ourselves in a position to do that, so we want to get over the line and push it on home.”

The Northampton Saint is set to become the third most capped England international of all time when he lines up against Argentina on Saturday to earn his 86th cap, and the hooker is expecting another stern challenge at scrum time.

“I don’t think either team got on top during set-piece last weekend,” he explained.

“Argentina probably tested us more which was a challenge, and there was one very long scrum, but it was what we expected. Argentina are very proud up-front and we expect no different this weekend.”

'English rugby is in a strong place'

With a total of 30 players unavailable for selection - due to injury and British & Irish Lions duty - 10 uncapped players made their debut in the first Test against Argentina last Saturday, and one more in the shape of Worcester Warriors’ Jack Singleton, could earn his first cap from the bench on Saturday.

And Hartley has credited the energy of the new members of the senior squad, highlighting the experience of touring as invaluable for them.

“A lot of them are so young, they have bags of energy but they need experience, they need mentoring and that is what this tour has been for them,” he said.

“We’re always looking to increase competition and depth of the team, so it’s only good for us to have these guys here learning.

“We’re continuously trying to get better and make the team better. I think English rugby is in a very strong place at the moment.”

Hartley describes a senior squad fully focused on improvement, where the effort and commitment in training has been second-to-none, and the 31-year-old wants England's hard work to be reflected in Saturday's performance.

He added: “I’m very happy with the way things have gone, we've worked on plenty ahead of this weekend's Test.”