England 27 Argentina 14
England overcame Elliot Daly’s fifth-minute red card to stage a remarkable 27-14 victory over Argentina at Twickenham that extends their winning run to 13 Tests.
A display of startling resolve and stamina enabled Eddie Jones' men to build a 16-0 lead, survive a Pumas fightback, and then finish the more dangerous team with Jonny May racing over to seal the result.
Victory was delivered the hard way after Daly became the fifth England player to be sent off and the first since Lewis Moody in 2005 when he clattered into Leonardo Senatore while the number eight was in the process of catching the ball.
Senatore landed on his head and after reviewing the incident French referee Pascal Gauzere — operating against the back drop of World Rugby's crackdown on dangerous play involving the head — sent off the left wing.
The incident also brought an end to the concussed Senatore’s afternoon and Daly’s exit left England to play the remaining 75 minutes with 14 men, a challenge they rose to manfully as they surged 16-0 ahead.
But as if the odds were not already heavily stacked against them, an eventful first half lasting an hour delivered the sickening blow of losing Billy Vunipola to what appeared to be a serious knee injury that left tears streaming down the Saracen's face.
Vunipola had been outstanding and it was his lightning-fast reflexes, combined with the relentless harrying of Argentina by the magnificent Chris Robshaw, that forced a penalty try in the 29th minute.
The Pumas had been all-too willing victims, their brainless and chaotic play enabling England to build their lead, but Vunipola's exit and the sin-binning of Dan Cole following a succession of crumbling scrums allowed them to cross through Facundo Isa and Santiago Cordero.
After Cordero had touched down, however, the Red Rose regrouped with Owen Farrell’s kicking nudging them clear and May switching on the afterburners to deliver the knockout blow in the left corner.
An action-packed opening saw Senatore and his Pumas team-mates Juan Martin Hernandez and Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias depart for head injury assessments, Daly receive his red card and Farrell kick a penalty.
England had made a strong start with Billy and Mako Vunipola prominent, but Daly's dismissal placed an entirely new perspective on the penultimate match of the autumn series at Twickenham.
Argentina’s efforts to build momentum were foiled by Gauzere’s whistle, enabling Farrell to kick a second penalty.
Another collision that saw wing Juan Pablo Estelles clatter into May while his opposite number was in the air was punished only with a penalty, provoking a chorus of boos at Twickenham, but it was much less severe than the tackle that accounted for Senatore.
Again Farrell was on target and, despite their extra man, Argentina trailed 9-0 with 15 minutes of the first half remaining and were busy shooting themselves in the foot at every available opportunity.
As if conceding eight penalties at this early stage was not enough, they then turned the ball over close to their line as the relentless Robshaw chased down Cordero and the speed of Billy Vunipola’s reaction to grab the loose ball was stunning.
On the left was a clear overlap but as Robshaw fed Tom Wood for a certain score, wing Matias Orlando deliberately knocked on to concede a penalty try, resulting in a yellow card for the offending Puma.
Billy Vunipola’s exit on the motorised cart was a terrible loss for the Grand Slam champions and there followed a sequence of seven scrums in which they were repeatedly pulverised under the posts.
Eventually Gauzere’s patience snapped and Cole was sent to the sin-bin, reducing England to 13 men and enabling Argentina to score for the first time when replacement back row Isa barrelled over.
The second half had barely started when England's line cracked for a second time, a missed tackle from Ben Youngs enabling Estelles to break free down the left and, following some beautiful link play, Cordero crossed.
Farrell landed his fifth penalty of the afternoon and when a mighty shove at a scrum sent Argentina hurtling backwards, the Saracens playmaker was on target once more.
Youngs chipped ahead, Jonathan Joseph gathered and George Ford came racing through in support as England bristled with intent and although they failed to score, they were at least able to take heart from a yellow card shown to Pablo Matera for collapsing a maul.
The result was sealed in the 68th minute when May sprinted over after being released by Tom Wood, Ford and Joseph as Jones celebrated the 12th triumph of his tenure.
There was still time for a second red card, Argentina replacement prop get his marching orders in the closing minutes for a stamp on Joe Marler.