An England U18s side featuring Wasps' Jack Wallace and Sam Jones, kick-started their Argentinean tour this summer with a convincing 40-24 victory against Tucuman U18s on Saturday.
The England young guns, who headed into the South American tour on the back of a Grand Slam of wins in the Six Nations Festival, ran in an impressive six tries to take the victory. England will now face Buenos Aires Under 18s on Wednesday before taking on Mendoza Under 18s and the Under 18s Argentinean national side in a one off capped test.
England had to come from behind to secure the win after going 10-0 down in the first ten minutes of the game. Tucuman opened strongly with a penalty and then a converted try to take a confident lead, but England regrouped and came back strongly, led well by captain Joe Marler.
The Harlequins prop put England back on track with an 18th minute try, which Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns converted, leaving England three points adrift.
England then took the lead on 20 minutes with a touchdown for Leicester Tigers' Andy Forsyth, who finished off a great break from club and country teammate Will Hurrell. Burns again converted to hand England the 14-10 lead.
Bristol Rugby prop Mako Vunipola then handed England a 21-10 lead at the break with another great move from one of England's talented backs Marcus Watson. Burns again converted.
Vunipola continued where he had left off before the break with a second try just two minutes into the second-half. This time he muscled his way over the line from a well-worked England attacking line-out.
The one way traffic continued for England with an impressive try for Forsyth who scored underneath the posts after some great phases of play, while Watson then added his own score on 60 minutes when London Irish's Sam Edgerley beat several Tucuman defenders to set-up wing Watson. With Burns adding another two conversions England led 40-10, but they would have been disappointed to let Tucuman back in, in the dying minutes of the game with the home side running in two soft tries.
England Under 18s Coach John Fletcher said: "This was a good game to have. This is the first rugby these lads have had in 12 weeks and they put on a good performance. We have got a lot of work to do, but I am pleased that there are no significant injuries.
"Tucuman have a great passion for rugby and they showed that in this game, but also in their hospitality with over 2000 people coming to watch the match."
Skipper Marler added: "Tucuman were great opposition. It was a very physical game and the lads have been given a taste of what is to come over the next three weeks. Certainly we need to get back to our base in Buenos Aires and work really hard in the next two weeks prior to our test match against Argentina."
England Under 18s
1 Joe Marler (C) (Harlequins), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, Haileybury), 3 Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby, Millfield), 4 Tom Holmes (Sale Sharks, Sandbach), 5 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks, Sandbach), 6 Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons, RGS Newcastle), 7 Joe Barker (Leeds Carnegie, QEGS Wakefield), 8 Jamie Gibson (London Irish, Marlborough College), 9 Sam Harrison (Leicester Tigers, John Cleveland College), 10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, Bath College), 11 Will Hurrell (Leicester Tigers, Queen Elizabeth II), 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, St Georges), 13 Andy Forsyth (Leicester Tigers, QEGS Wakefield), 14 Marcus Watson (London Irish, St George's College), 15 Jack Wallace (London Wasps, RGS High Wycombe).
Replacements: 16 Peter Austin (London Irish, Worthing College), 17 David Blackwell (Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury), 18 Joe Quinn (St Wilfred's School, Leeds Carnegie), 19 Sam Jones (London Wasps, Aylesbury Grammar School), 20 Jordi Pasqualin (Gloucester Rugby The Kings School), 21 Rory Clegg (Newcastle Falcons, Barnard Castle), 22 Sam Edgerley (London Irish, Wellington College), 23 Joe Cobden (Leicester Tigers, King Edward VI Lichfield).
Tries: Marler, Forsyth (2), Vunipola (2), Watson,
Conversions: Burns (5)
Substitutions: Austin for Vunipola, Blackwell for George, Edgerley for Hurrell, Quinn for Gaskell (all 52), Pasqualin for Forsyth (57), Jones for Gibson (63), Clegg for Wallace (66)
England Under 18s Argentinean Tour Itinerary
England v Tucuaman Under 18s, July 19th, Los Tos Tarcos, kick-off 8pm BST WON 40-24
England v Buenos Aires Under 18s, July 23rd, KO TBC
England v Mendoza Under 18s, July 27th, KO TBC
England v Argentina, August 3rd, KO TBC