(Reuters) - England coach Eddie Jones said his young team’s nerve-jangling 38-34 win over Argentina in San Juan was among the best of his career.
An England side shorn of its best players due to the British and Irish Lions tour showed nerve and composure on Saturday, with a try at the death by Denny Solomona securing victory in a classic encounter.
“I thought it was an incredible game of rugby,” said Jones.
“For our guys to win that was a tremendous effort. In the end, I think we had 10 new caps on there. To show poise and stick to what we needed to do in the circumstances was an unbelievable effort from the young guys.
“When you are playing a full-strength Argentina team that is a great effort. I think it is one of the best team efforts I have been associated with.”
Tries by Marland Yarde, Jonny May, George Ford and Solomona laid the foundation for the victory, but the performance of flyhalf George Ford, who scored 23 points, kept England in a match that seemed to have got away from them on several occasions.
“He was absolutely brilliant,” said Jones.
“There were guys who made mistakes, but they didn’t dwell on them. Denny [Solomona] made two horrendous errors in defense but got one back.
“Tom Curry made some errors but got on with it. That was the good thing: they just got on with the next thing.”
Solomona showed with his winning try what a threat he is in attack, but within three minutes of his debut, off the bench, he had been exposed horribly in defense for the Pumas’ third and fourth tries.
“He is going to be doing some defensive work next week,” said Jones. “If you see him tackling tackle bags in the streets of Buenos Aires you’ll know why.”
England blooded 10 new caps, six of them from the bench.
“I thought young Curry did well. Mark Wilson did well. Charlie Ewels ran the lineout well against a good lineout team,” Jones added.
“Henry Slade showed some nice classy touches, which we have seen sporadically but we saw more of it in one game today.”
The second and final test is in Santa Fe next Saturday.
Editing by Ian Ransom