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Drop-goal master Ford uses ‘great weapon’ to undo Argentina

George Ford achieved the rare feat of knocking over three drop-goals in England’s dominant 27-10 victory over Argentina to kick-start their World Cup campaign on Saturday.

But it was no fluke, the English fly-half insisting it was a pre-planned strategy.

“It’s always part of our plan,” said Ford, who also kicked six penalties to claim all of England’s points.

“It’s a great weapon for us, especially when the ball’s a bit greasy.”

After England had Tom Curry red-carded for a head-on-head clash with Argentine full-back Juan Cruz Mallia, Ford said playing the territorial game took on a greater importance.

“We went a man down early on and we had to come away with as many points as possible when we had field position. We managed to do that,” he said.

“The boys up front were incredible in giving us that field position, so all credit must go to them.”

Ford admitted that England had endured a “rocky build-up” to the World Cup, with a poor run of results which culminated in a  loss to Fiji in Twickenham, a fifth defeat in their last six games.

“We’re a close-knit team,” Ford said. “But the last 10 days there’s been a bit of a different feel about the place, the way the lads have grabbed hold of it and it’s a pleasure to be a part of.

“I must say it’s only the start, of course, it’s game one, we’ll look to build on it next week.

“Winning the first game is always a good thing against a quality team like Argentina. But again, it’s only the first game. We’ve got some tough games to come and we’re in a position where we want to keep improving.”

England coach Steve Borthwick praised what he called a “fantastic group of players”.

“I thought George was magnificent. George took his chances well,” he said, highlighting not only the fly-half’s “composure and management” but also leadership throughout the group.

“I’m really pleased for them tonight,” Borthwick said, adding that the team had disproved doubters after their patchy form coming into France.

“As I said before, they felt that people were writing them off a little bit too early.

“I’m pleased with many aspects of the performance, particularly clearly the attitude and composure under pressure against a very good Argentina team.”

Borthwick added: “When people talk about the players, what I see is a great group of players who have a lot of experience and some real exciting young players and I thought the blend was just about right today.

“They are a quality group of players that are going to keep on improving and moving forward.

“Our focus is going to go to Japan. That’s our next opponent and that’s where our attention will be. We’ll enjoy tonight — the players deserve to enjoy tonight — but very quickly our focus will go to Japan next Sunday.”

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