Rugby World Cup 2011: England braced for Pumas barrage

By Ben DirsBBC Sport in Dunedin
Argentina's World Cup squad
The Argentina squad prepare for Saturday's World Cup encounter with England

Lock Courtney Lawes is confident England can match the intensity of Argentina's vaunted pack in their World Cup opener in Dunedin on Saturday.

The Pumas have one of the most experienced and feared scrums in world rugby and Saturday's match is expected to be a bloody battle up front.

"They're going to be full-on from the start but we're going to match them and we're going to beat them," Lawes said.

"If you go to sleep against them they will beat you, they're ferocious."

Argentina's pack is much the same as the one which led them to the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup, when they upset France in the group stage before beating them again in the third-place play-off.

In the front row, hooker Mario Ledesma and loose-head prop Rodrigo Roncero are joined by 23-year-old Juan Figallo, who was deemed good enough to displace the vastly-experienced Martin Scelzo, who has played in three World Cups.

But England tight-head Dan Cole says he and his fellow forwards are prepared for the expected onslaught.

"They bring a lot of passion and experience to the game which we've got to match, if not top," said the Leicester prop.

"As you saw when they beat France four years ago, you come unstuck if you don't match them for passion - and you don't want that happening.

"Roncero and Ledesma are old blokes but they've played at the top for a lot of years. That's because they're good, not just because they're old.

"The whole eight will come at us and they'll want to win their individual battles. We've got to be prepared for that.

"But we can't get drawn into individual battles and go away from our game plan, although we can't back down and be bullied. We'll give as good as we get."