Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Rowntree expects physical outing

England scrum coach Graham Rowntree has steeled his men for the ultimate challenge of facing Argentina's set-piece in Saturday's Rugby World Cup opener.

Rowntree faced the Pumas twice in his own 53-Test career and he knows from tough personal experience that England could not have asked for a sterner opening challenge.

"You test yourself as a player, as a front-row forward, against the Argentinians and the French," said Rowntree.

"And when you've got Argentinians playing with French clubs, that doubles the challenge.

"As a youngster, one of my first caps was against Argentina and that was a difficult evening. It's a benchmark of scrummaging gurus: how do you do against a team like Argentina or France?

"Are they the best in the business? We'll see in this competition.

"They're always a handful as a nation. A very physical outfit, the whole team: forward line, back line, they won't give up.

"It's always a very hard, physical encounter against them and I don't think that will ever change.

"That philosophy on scrummaging is to be respected - but we like scrummaging as well!"


From Belfast Telegraph