Argentina have made just one change to the starting XV which lost to Wales last month, with Gonzalo Tiesi replacing Marcelo Bosch at outside centre. Mario Ledesma Arocena, 38, will become the third oldest player to play at a Rugby World Cup, while Manu Tuilagi will be 20 years and 115 days old on Saturday, the youngest player to play a RWC match for England, breaking Wilkinson’s record, set at RWC 1999, by 15 days.
Ledesma and teammate Felipe Contepomi will be the third and fourth Argentines to play in four Rugby World Cups. Contepomi will equal Agustín Pichot’s Argentine record of 14 Rugby World Cup matches.
Contepomi needs one score to become the 15th or 16th player to score 100 RWC points, depending on Dan Carter’s performance in Friday’s opener. England have made two (forced) changes to their starting XV, with Delon Armitage and Nick Easter replacing Mark Cueto and Hendre Fourie, who both started in the 20-9 win against Ireland last month.
Jonny Wilkinson (above) is the only England player in New Zealand who started in the finals of both RWC 2003 and RWC 2007. Two of England’s starting XV, Steve Thompson and Mike Tindall, played with Wilkinson in the 20-17 victory over Australia in the final of RWC 2003. Another two, Andrew Sheridan and Nick Easter, joined Wilkinson in the starting XV of the RWC 2007 final. Wilkinson plays at a record equalling fourth Rugby World Cup for England. Jason Leonard (1991-2003) and Mike Catt (1995-2007) have previously achieved this feat.
- Argentina and England have met 15 times in Test matches recognised by both countries with Argentina winning four, England 10 and one draw.
- The countries have met once before at a Rugby World Cup, with England winning 24-18 in Durban in 1995.
- Argentina have won twice in the last four encounters: 25-18 at Twickenham in 2006 and 24-22 in Salta in 2009.
- England have scored at least one try in 14 of their 15 matches with Argentina.
- The only match in which England failed to score a try was RWC 1995. Argentina scored two tries but still lost after England’s Rob Andrew kicked 24 points (six penalties and two drop goals).
- In the six matches played between the teams since the turn of the millennium, Argentina have failed to score a try in four of them.
- Argentina recognise a 16th encounter, a 13-13 draw with an England XV at Twickenham in October 1978.
- Ninth in the IRB world ranking, which equals their lowest position.
- Have lost their opening match at five of the six Rugby World Cups, with their only success coming in 2007.
- Won as many Rugby World Cup matches (six) in 2007 as they had at the five previous tournaments.
- Won all four pool matches at RWC 2007. Ireland were the last team to beat them in a RWC pool match (16-15 in 2003).
- Have scored only one try in their last three matches against Six Nations opposition..
- Fifth in the IRB world ranking.
- Have progressed from their pool at all six previous Rugby World Cups.
- Have not lost their opening Rugby World Cup match for 20 years, winning the last four.
- Can equal their Rugby World Cup record of two successive defeats should they lose on Saturday.
- Have failed to score at least one try in only three of their 20 pool matches at Rugby World Cups.
- Argentina (1995) are one of the three teams to stop England scoring a try in a RWC pool match. New Zealand (1991) and South Africa (2007) are the others.
- Have won six of their eight matches in 2011. Only Japan have won more (seven).
- The match will be the first international at the Otago Stadium in Dunedin.
- The stadium is fully enclosed but features natural turf.
- Carisbrook in Dunedin was used as a stadium at Rugby World Cup 1987, hosting three matches. The last international there was in July, when the All Blacks beat Fiji 60-14.
- England have lost both of their previous international matches in Dunedin, against the All Blacks in 1998 and 2004.
- Argentina have also lost both of their matches in Dunedin, against a New Zealand XV and the full All Blacks team. The last of these two matches was 22 years ago.