TOKYO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - England coach Eddie Jones said he was pleased his players retained their focus following Argentina’s early red card on their way to a 39-10 win in the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.
The Pumas were forced to play for over an hour with 14 men in the Pool C clash after lock Tomas Lavanini was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Owen Farrell and England initially struggled to make the extra man count.
However, in the second half England ran away comfortable winners to qualify for the quarter-finals and Jones praised his players ability to adapt.
“I liked our psychological adaption to the game today, that we didn’t get seduced by the game,” said Jones.
“When they went down to 14 men, possibly they got a psychological lift and, with human nature, you can drop off a little bit because you think you are going to win the game and we probably did that.
“I am really pleased with how the players got back in the second half and dominated.”
Jones added that his players had tried to play a more expansive brand of rugby when they went a man up but, when that failed to yield sufficient results, England went back to basics.
“When you get 15 against 14 the seduction is to play a lot of phase rugby and we probably did that a little bit in the first half,” said the Australian.
“In the second half we went back to playing good, solid rugby and won the game in a good fashion.”
England, who went out in the pool stages on home soil four years ago, scored 24 points in the second half to see out the match.
Jones pointed to England’s 27-14 win over Argentina in 2017, when fullback Elliot Daly was sent off less than five minutes into the contest, as evidence of how hard it can be to play against 14 men.
“I am happy with how we stuck at the game, we didn’t get too carried away. That is a banana skin game for us,” said Jones.
“You have to remember two years ago we beat Argentina with 14 men; Elliot got sent off... and we won the game easily.
“You have to be careful so I was really pleased with the leadership of the team. I thought Owen (Farrell) and his lieutenants did a really good job keeping us focused.”
One of those was flyhalf George Ford.
“We probably lost our way a little bit in terms of building pressure but I thought we got it back at the start of the second half and we finished well,” said Ford.
“We wanted to play to our strengths a bit more and not get seduced by the space too much and, at the start of the second half, we did that.”
England face France in their final pool match in Yokohama on Oct. 12. (Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Tony Lawrence)