Victory over Argentina in a thrilling and brutal encounter was further proof that England have been transformed under the leadership of Eddie Jones
Late on Saturday afternoon a brilliant red sunset settled over south-west London, making a fitting backdrop for a bloody match at Twickenham. It was a game that contained, as Eddie Jones said, more drama than your average EastEnders omnibus. It was bracketed by two red cards, one for Elliot Daly four minutes from the start, another for Enrique Pieretto four minutes from the finish. In between, including all the extra time at the end of the first half, there was an 80-minute melee, which looked, at times, like one of those cartoon bust-ups in which everything is a blur of flying fists and feet. It was a match you would have to watch back even to begin to understand exactly how it all went down.
When it was over, England – reduced to 14 men for the majority and 13 for a good long stretch – won by 13 points, 27 to 14. It was one of their very best victories here in recent years and, along with their wins in the first two Tests against Australia back in June, the most significant marker yet of their extraordinary progress under Jones. He had promised that this match would be a test of his team’s “manhood”. It turned into something much tougher than that, an examination of their ability to adapt, improvise and overcome. It wasn’t just the loss of Daly, Dan Cole was sent to the sin-bin, too, and Billy Vunipola missed the second half because of an due to injury.
Related: England 27-14 Argentina: rugby union international – as it happened