- England – Tries: Yarde, May, Ford, Solomona Cons: Ford 3 Pens: Ford 4
- Argentina – Tries: Boffelli, Lavanini, de la Fuente, Tuculet Cons: Sanchez 4 Pens: Sanchez 1 Drop goal: Hernandez
Debutant Denny Solomona scored a last-minute try as England won an epic 38-34 encounter against Argentina in San Juan.
Tries from Emiliano Boffelli and Tomas Lavanini, as well as seven points from the boot of Nicolas Sanchez, gave Argentina a four-point lead at the break with Marland Yarde scoring England’s try, which George Ford converted along with two penalties.
The lead interchanged several times in an enthralling second-half with Jonny May and Ford going over for England, while Jeronimo de la Fuente, as well as Joaquin Tuculet, did likewise for Argentina.
Juan Martin Hernandez looked to have won the game with a late drop goal, however Solomona sealed a stunning late win with Ford converting.
Breathless first half
England trailed at half-time after a breathless and chaotic opening 40 minutes in San Juan.
Sanchez missed an early penalty before his grubber kick behind the England line enabled Boffelli to get round Yarde to dot down.
Ford reduced the deficit with a penalty while soon after, England’s forwards powered the side to Argentina’s 22m line and after being penalised at a ruck, Ford sent over his second penalty.
Ellis Genge turned the ball over near his own 22m and England produced several phases of stunning rugby, with Alex Lozowski picking a fine line to scythe through the Argentina defence and after several offloads in contact Ford released the fleet-footed Yarde who side-stepped past the final defender on the right wing and flew over.
However, another turnover resulted in another try – this time for Argentina - and after barracking their way to England’s tryline, Lavanini showed great strength to bundle over. Sanchez’s conversion gave Argentina a two-point lead in what had been an intense opening half which saw England make nearly twice as many tackles as their opponents: 70-37.
On the stroke of half-time Sanchez increased that lead to send Argentina into half-time 17-13 up.
Thrilling second period
Ford sent over his third penalty as England began the second-half in fine fashion.
Having gone close moments earlier, but for a thumping tackle on Dylan Hartley, England had their second try with Henry Slade producing a moment of magic to kick behind the Argentina defence and May was the grateful recipient on the left wing.
The see-saw nature of the game continued as de la Fuente finished off Martin Landajo’s break through midfield and soon after their lead grew with a length of the field try, moving the ball beautifully from their own 22m before Tuculet flew over in the corner. Sanchez converted both to give Los Pumas an eight-point lead.
Ford’s immaculate game continued with his fourth penalty as England went to within a try of Argentina and after a fine offload from debutant Pier Francis, the Bath fly-half finished off the break to level the game.
An epic final 10 minutes saw Hernandez send over a late drop goal before Solomona produced a moment of magic to fend off one tackle before searing past two Argentina defenders to cross in a stunning finish to the match.
Fantastic Mr Ford
Ford, voted man of the match by England Rugby fans, converted for his 23rd points of the game as England sealed a memorable victory to get their two-Test tour off to a winning start.
"We couldn't quite get a grip of the game but what a finish from Denny at the end," said Ford after the match.
"The boys put a massive shift in, they were running around there like madmen. The first game of the tour, it’s always nice to start with a win. We know it will be harder next week."
A day of debuts
The game marked several notable landmarks for England.
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs) and Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) all made their international debuts.
Curry also became the youngest England starter since Colin Laird in 1927 while captains Dylan Hartley won his 85th cap for England to move ahead of former captain Martin Johnson and alongside Rory Underwood and Lawrence Dallaglio as the third-equal most capped England international of all time.
Solomona replaced Yarde on 50 minutes to make his England debut as did Will Collier, Don Armand, Nick Isiekwe and Jack Maunder.
England: Mike Brown; Marland Yarde, Henry Slade, Alex Lozowski, Jonny May; George Ford, Danny Care; Ellis Genge, Dylan Hartley, Harry Williams; Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels; Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: Jack Singleton, Matt Mullan, Will Collier, Nick Isiekwe, Don Armand, Jack Maunder, Piers Francis, Denny Solomona
Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet; Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente; Emiliano Boffelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Lucas Noguera Paz, Agustin Creevy, Enrique Pieretto, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Javier Ortega Desio, Juan Manuel Leguizamon.
Replacements: Julian Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Guido Petti, Leonardo Senatore, Gonzalo Bertranou, Juan Martin Hernandez, Ramiro Moyano