Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has hit back at England counterpart Eddie Jones, insisting their rivals’ status as the No2 side in the world means the pressure is on them to perform at Twickenham on Saturday.
Jones, who described England’s clash with the Pumas as their biggest of the year, suggested that Hourcade is under scrutiny after overseeing just one win in nine Tests, which was against Georgia, during 2017.
Hourcade shrugged off the Australian’s comments and returned fire by claiming England’s loftier position in the global rankings automatically meant the showdown was essentially a free hit for Argentina.
“We all know how he is,” said Hourcade. “Perhaps some things he says are not true. We will do our talking on the pitch.
“We are always under pressure. The pressure is more for England that they are No2 in the world and we are No10. We are playing here in their stadium in November in the last part of our season.
“I think England has more pressure on top of us. If we lose it will be logical, if they lose....who has the pressure?”
Jones has overseen three England victories against Argentina since his appointment in November 2015, while the two will meet during the group stages of the World Cup in two years’ time. The 57-year-old was happy to indulge in mind games.
“Argentina are coming off the back of not a good season. Their coach is under pressure, their players are under pressure,” he said. “But they know if they beat England at Twickenham then their whole season turns around.
“They can go back to Buenos Aires and sit on the beach as heroes. Everyone will want to buy them a beer. Everyone will want to buy them a steak.
“I’m confident we’ll play well and if we play well enough the result will come our way. If they play better than us, they’ll beat us. But we intend to play well.”
Jones had previously suggested that he would limit the workload of those England players who featured for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand during the summer but has included eight in his matchday battalion.
The Australian has opted to rest key players Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, but Elliot Daly, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson, Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola, George Kruis and Courtney Lawes are all named in the XV. Exeter’s Henry Slade is set to start at No12.