Jamie George has warned Argentina that their attempts to unsettle England ahead of Saturday’s pivotal World Cup showdown in Toyko could backfire.
Pumas talisman and former captain Agustin Creevy lit the fuse for the Pool C collision by declaring Eddie Jones’ team play “boring” rugby and should be ready for a “war”.
England comfortably topped the try-scoring charts in this year’s Six Nations and have already crossed 11 times in Japan after posting emphatic wins against Tonga and the USA.
George will line-up against Creevy at Tokyo Stadium believing his opposite number is mistaken.
“I don’t think we play boring rugby. I’m not overly surprised that he’s tried to say that, but he’s entitled to his opinion and hopefully we’ll prove him wrong on Saturday,” George said.
“In my opinion I don’t think it’s very justified. I’m sure he’s just trying to rattle us a bit. He’s more than welcome to try.”
Boring is an accusation that has been frequently levelled at Saracens, the Gallagher Premiership’s most successful club of the last decade, but their Lions hooker George said: “It’s trophies in the bag. We are used to it!”
Creevy will become Argentina’s most capped player when he makes an 88th Test appearance on Saturday and is regarded by England as the the Pumas’ “spiritual” leader, a gnarled veteran who carries the fight to opponents.
The 34-year-old is well versed in English rugby after spending two seasons at Worcester until leaving in 2016 to join Buenos Aires-based Super Rugby franchise the Jaguares.
While he added that he loved his time in England to the point he would eventually like to move there with his wife, also holding the nation’s rugby team in great affection, he has placed pleasantries on hold as Saturday approaches.
Red Rose attack coach Scott Wisemantel uses statistics to dispute his outlook.
“Creevy might just have been at a boring club in England, I don’t really know!” Wisemantel said.
“I don’t think that (England are boring) and he obviously hasn’t been watching much of the Premiership as there are some excellent teams with so many different styles.
“And it’s a bit like me making a judgement call on the Jaguares – they are very different.”
When asked to describe England’s style of play, Wisemantel said: “It’s varied and can be very structured at times, but you have to remember in this tournament a third of our tries have come from unstructured play. I don’t necessarily agree with Creevy.”
Argentina will field a rugged pack who will present a stiff challenge up-front, but openside Sam Underhill insists England have nothing to fear.
“Depends if you look at an arm wrestle as a bad thing. Obviously their maul and their scrum is a massive part of their game, but it’s the same for us,” Underhill said.
“It’s a massively important part of the game now. The best teams have the best set piece.
“For us it’s a threat to nullify, but it’s also an opportunity to impose ourselves on the game.
“That would probably fall under the category of boring rugby but it’s an area we’re pretty excited about. There are no points for style.”