Replacement halfback Ben Youngs scored with 13 minutes remaining as England come from behind to edge out Argentina 13-9 in their opening Rugby World Cup 2011 match.
However the Pumas, whose game plan was centred on a physical forward effort and rugged defence, will rue spurning opportunities to build a significant lead.
Skipper Felipe Contepomi and fullback Martin Rodriguez between them landed just three penalties from nine attempts before England swung the game their way.
Rodriguez was the bigger culprit, managing just two from seven as England repeatedly infringed at the breakdown.
But this game was so bad…that both teams got upstaged by a streaker…honestly, it was the most entertaining part of the match. When England did actually score a try, they looked all surprised. Because they play such a negative, boring, useless kicking game…it’s no wonder everybody hates them. I don’t mind them doing well in the World Cup…really I don’t…but please, please start to play rugby.
And what the hell were England wearing all black? Was it a sign of respect, or were they taking the piss?
The match was the first international staged at the new covered Otago Stadium and England sharpshooter Jonny Wilkinson also struggled to find his range.
Despite the windless conditions, Wilkinson succeeded with just three kicks from eight.
However his first, a penalty to tie the scores at 3-3, made him the first player to pass 250 World Cup points.
The key moment came 11 minutes from time.
Argentina were leading 9-3 but conceded a penalty for winger Gonzalo Carmacho’s dangerous tackle on fullback Ben Foden.
England opted to kick to the corner, and from the ensuing attack Youngs found a gap to go over by the posts.
Wilkinson’s conversion edged his side in front for the first time and he then added his second penalty.
For the Pumas, defeat was made worse by the loss of first five-eighth Contepomi and centre Gonzalo Tiesi to injury.
While the match was fiercely contested, it had its lighter moments. England hooker Steve Thompson ended a highly-charged disagreement with opposite Mario Ledesma by planting a kiss on Ledesma’s forehead.
Argentina now head to Invercargill to face Romania next Saturday, while England remain in Dunedin and are in action the following day against Georgia.
Buford Balony says: The crappiest game of any sport ever this was.