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Players make bid for England spot

England's holidaying absentees have been warned they face a battle to regain their Test places after Stuart Lancaster's young guns maximised their opportunity in a 32-3 victory over Argentina.

Christian Wade and Matt Kvesic enjoyed impressive debuts as they took over on the wing and at openside flanker from Chris Ashton and Chris Robshaw, who have both been rested this summer.

Billy Twelvetrees played with authority at inside centre and his performance will put the pressure on Brad Barritt when a full-strength England squad reconvene for the autumn internationals.

England also have nine players on the British and Irish Lions tour, which afforded long-awaited opportunities to the likes of prop David Wilson and lock Dave Attwood. Neither wasted it.

One of Lancaster's stated aims on the tour of Argentina is to build competition for places and strengthen his selection options leading into the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The players are responding.

Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan said: "We have got a lot of young lads and new people coming in who have been given an opportunity to put their marker down and stake a claim for the shirt.

"The way people are playing at the moment, it is going to make things difficult for people coming back to get back in. That's exactly what we want. We want a competitive environment as a team because that is going to drive us to towards our goal of the World Cup."

Morgan had a hand in the first two tries, scored by David Strettle and Twelvetrees, before crashing over for the third try himself as England stormed into a 25-0 lead.

On the back of a dominant pack and Morgan's powerful ball-carrying, England's back division ran riot, with Freddie Burns and Twelvetrees pulling the strings.

Wade is renowned for his finishing but he was at the heart of England's thrilling first-half attacking performance and showed his hand as a playmaker.


From Belfast Telegraph