Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Third Place-Off: Argentina 23-26 England

The two teams contest a maul during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France
The two teams contest a maul during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France
©Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Argentina 23-26 England, Stade de France, Third Place Play-Off

England finished their Rugby World Cup campaign with close 26-23 win over Argentina in the third place play-off at Stade de France on Friday.

Ben Earl and Theo Dan scored tries for England on either side of the break just like Tomas Cubelli and Santiago Carreras crossed over for the Pumas. However, it was Owen Farrell's kicking kept England just ahead as he slotted four penalties and two conversions.

Nicolas Sanchez had a late opportunity in the game to level the scores but his kick in the 75th minute drifted wide allowing Steve Borthwick's men to finish third in the competition.

England's Tom Curry led the team on what was his 50th Test appearance - a week after he claimed South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi allegedly used a racial slur on him in the semi-final.

England won an early penalty at breakdown which Farrell kicked to perfection in the third minute to put his team in front before a short pass from Marcus Smith paved the way for Ben Earl to touchdown in the 8th minute. Farrell followed with the conversion as Borthwick's men took an early 0-10 lead in the game.

Argentina's indiscipline pegged them back further as another penalty from Farrell put England 13 points ahead before the Pumas got their first points through a three pointer from Emiliano Boffelli as Smith was penalised for holding on. However, Farrell restored the 13 point lead for England after Argentina flanker Marcos Kremer infringed at offside making it 3-16.

Argentina clawed their way back and managed to reduce the arrears at the stroke of half time after Tomas Cubelli dived from close range after good work from Boffelli and Lucio Cinti. There was a TMO check for an offside but the Pumas were cleared and Boffelli kicked the conversion to ensure the teams completed the opening half with a 10-16 scoreline.

Michael Cheika's men extended the momentum into the second half as Santiago Carreras brushed away a tackle from Dan to touchdown and Boffelli scoring the extras meant Argentina were into the lead for the first time in the game.

However, England responded back almost immediately with Dan redeeming himself as he charged down a clearance kick from Carreras to dot down and Farrell with a simple conversion made it 17-23.

Argentina narrowed down the gap to just three points as England were penalised for an offside and Boffelli scored a penalty goal making it 20-23 with 17 points scored over all in an eventful first 10 minutes after the break. Cheika's frustration was evident as England was awarded a scrum penalty which Farrell kicked to perfection to make it 20-26 by the 65th minute but that was after Ben Youngs left the field for the final time.

With 12 minutes left in the game, the gap came again down to three points as an infringement from George Ford allowed Sanchez to kick from the tee and he had another chance to level the scores as the Pumas won another penalty chance outside of England 22 which they decided to take on. However, Sanchez's kick drifted wide handing a relief for England as they edged away with a 23-26 win to finish third in the tournament.

Team line up:

England: Smith; Steward, Marchant, Tuilagi, Arundell; Farrell (capt), Youngs; Genge, Dan, Stuart, Itoje, Chessum, Curry, Underhill, Earl.

Reserves: Ford, Lawrence, Care, Rodd, George, Cole, Ribbans, Ludlam

Argentina: Mallia; Boffelli, Cinti, De la Fuente, M Carreras; S Carreras, Cubelli; Gallo, Montoya (capt), Kodela, Pagadizabal, Rubiolo, Gonzalez, Kremer, Isa.

Reserves: Moroni, Sanchez, Velez, Sclavi, Creevy, Bello, Alemanno, Bruni