The British & Irish Lions suffered a blow on Wednesday when prop Cian Healy picked up an ankle injury which may keep him out for several weeks. The knock-on effect (no pun intended) of this is that England suffered a further blow of their own, as experienced prop Alex Corbisiero was called up as Healy’s replacement and therefore misses the game against Argentina on Saturday.
Stuart Lancaster’s men have looked in good form in their two tour games to date, both against the Barbarians before jetting off to South America and then against the Consur XV at the weekend. Several players have staked outside claims for starting places on Saturday, not least of them back row forward Billy Vunipola (younger brother of the Lions’ prop Mako), who scored a six minute hat-trick against the Consur side.
That said, Lancaster is likely to err on the side of caution against an Argentine side who are still strong in the forwards but inclined to be flakey among the backs. He will be acutely aware, too, that it was only last Autumn that they beat both Ireland and Wales. For that reason, the only real dilemma facing Lancaster is likely to be the identity of Billy Twelvetrees’ centre partner (expect Jonathan Joseph to get the nod) and whether Freddie Burns or Stephen Myler partners Richard Wrigglesworth at half-back.
The betting odds at Betfair list England as 1/4 favorites to win this game, which is somewhat surprising given the strength of the Argentines and the slightly scratch nature of the visiting side. You can probably, therefore, find better value for your sports picks in the half time/full time market, where it would not be a surprise to find Argentina on top at the break but the English coming from behind.
If you fancy a dabble in the winning margin market, then this may be a good one to bet on in play, as Argentina rarely score a hatful of points and England are hard to predict as an attacking force with so many senior players missing.