Woodward lauds his team's efforts
June 23, 2002

England manager Clive Woodward hailed his side's memorable 26-18 victory over Argentina at the Velez Serfield in Buenos Aires.

Second half tries from Leicester lock Ben Kay and Bristol wing Phil Christophers underpinned a brilliant England fightback after they had trailed 12-3 at the break.

Fly half Charlie Hodgson kicked 13 points, while the victory was sealed through a late long-range Tim Stimpson penalty.

Despite being without numerous front-line players for a combination of reasons, an England side containing five Test debutants ripped up the formbook.

All Argentina, who defeated Six Nations champions France last Saturday, could muster in reply were six Gonzalo Quesada penalties.

"We didn't play in the first half as we had prepared for this game, but it was a case of not changing anything and trying to keep possession," said England boss Clive Woodward.

"We suddenly got all the ball in the second half, and with Charlie Hodgson and Andy Gomarsall in charge there were gaps all over the place.

"Ben Kay had a stunning match. He showed he is world-class and, along with Phil Vickery, he was the outstanding player in the pack and his try was a brilliant effort.

"David Flatman showed great footwork in the build-up to Christophers' try, and his final pass was worth coming all this way just to watch."

Woodward added: "It was a big advantage for us to see Argentina play against France last weekend.

"We had two clear weeks preparing for this game, and we knew that Argentina are one of the world's best - no team will get an easy ride against them.

"Every team has one eye on the World Cup next year, and to give yourself any chance at a World Cup, you have got to arrive with 30 outstanding players.

"A lot of the players have come through very strongly, which is good long-term."

Skipper Phil Vickery added: "The players didn't surprise me. There was a lot of determination out there, and they all wanted to do well.

"We always said that we would give it our best shot, and we never gave up.

"We didn't apply ourselves in the first half in the manner in which we had prepared and practised for the game, but we applied more pressure in the second half, had a couple of lucky breaks and scored some points."

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