England head coach Eddie Jones labelled his side’s victory over Argentina on Saturday “a grindathon”.
England battled to 21-8 victory at Twickenham, their third over the Pumas in six months, with tries from Nathan Hughes and Semesa Rokoduguni.
But the hosts were short of their best and Jones said: “It was a grindathon, wasn’t it? We were off the pace a bit.
“We haven’t played since March together. Our fluency and understanding wasn’t there, which is understandable.”
He added: “I thought it was a good win against a team that at the 60-minute mark was leading the All Blacks [in the Rugby Championship], so you can’t underestimate them.”
A try in each half from number eight Hughes and wing Rokoduguni was enough to see off a Pumas side who responded with a late Nicolas Sanchez try – but missed five kickable chances at goal.
Jones showed visible signs of frustration on the sidelines and added: “We want to play good rugby so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be frustrated.
“Every time we created something a pass would go astray or something. Henry Slade did some good things but that understanding at 10-12-13 wasn’t really there.
“Attack-wise we need to finish opportunities and we gave away some silly penalties.”
England face Australia, in Cardiff, next week before finishing the autumn series against Samoa on 25 November.
“We’re hoping Australia bring their best game and we’ll see where we’re at. We have a very clear vision of how we want to play against Australia,” Jones said.
Emotional day for Rokoduguni
Rokoduguni, who has served with the British Army in Afghanistan as a lance corporal and reconnaissance tank soldier of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said he felt privileged to play on Remembrance Day.
“It’s one of those emotional days but it’s an honour to represent the army as a whole,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
Rokoduguni won his third cap on Saturday, a year after his second, which came two years after his debut in 2014.
He came off the bench in the first half because of an injury to Mike Brown, who left the field concussed after a mid-air collision with Argentina’s Joaquin Tuculet.
Brown will start the ‘return to play’ protocols on Sunday, and will need to pass those before he is declared available for England’s match with Australia next weekend.
Anthony Watson moved to full-back in Brown’s absence.
‘England got through it’ – what the pundits said
“England have got through the game and they’ve won it,” said former England scrum-half Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 live.
“In preparation for next week, the players now have a fresh understanding of what Test rugby is like and how fine the margins are.
“They were not quite sharp enough changing their tune throughout the game but they can prepare for Australia now.”
“England were expected to put Argentina to the sword today but you’ve always got to shake off a bit of rust when you return to action,” said ex-England fly-half Paul Grayson.
“How they played didn’t really explore the Ford-Slade axis to see if it worked.
“I think the game next week will be more instinctive as Australia will pose them more of a threat and that could suit England.”
How did social media react?
Josh Verrills: Slade has had a poor game today. Doesn’t seem to be clicking for him at international level. #rugby
Ben Wire: England have lots of adventure but no finishing touch. Need to up the tempo and get more clinical #rugby
James Venvell: How long are we going to keep Hartley and Cole lumbering on? Past their best – Jamie George should’ve been number two six months ago. #rugby
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