England scrum coach Graham Rowntree is relishing the prospect of a stern set piece contest against Argentina when the teams meet in their World Cup opener in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Pumas have long been renowned for their powerful scrummaging while England, whatever their struggles elsewhere on the field, have usually field a decent scrum at worst.
"Are they the best in the business?," said former England prop Rowntree on Tuesday.
"Well, we'll see in this competition.
"It's always a very hard, physical encounter against them and I don't think that will ever change."
For both countries the scrum was the foundation of their play at the 2007 World Cup where England were runners-up to South Africa and Argentina upset the established rugby union order by coming third after twice beating hosts France.
Rowntree, capped 54 times by England, said facing an Argentina scrum was an acid test of a front-row's worth
"It's hard, blood, sweat and tears. You test yourself as a player, as a front row forward, against the Argentineans and the French.
"And when you've got Argentineans playing in France with French clubs, that doubles the challenge.
"As a youngster, one of my first caps was against Argentina and that was a difficult evening.
"It's a benchmark of scrummaging gurus: how do you do against a team like Argentina or France."
The Pumas named their side to play England on Tuesday with veteran hooker Mario Ledesma joined in the front row by experienced prop Rodrigo Roncero while Martin Scelzo, like Ledesma bidding to appear in a fourth World Cup, was on the bench.
England prop Matt Stevens, aiming to be in the starting side due to be announced by manager Martin Johnson on Thursday, said: "Argentina have got some great front rows and we are relishing the challenge.
"Their front row would definitely be pushing to be the best in the world. The Argentinian front row are good ball carriers as well."
But a scrum contest that could involve the fit-again Andrew Sheridan, the 'prop idol' hero of England's 2007 World Cup quarterfinal win over Australia, could be stifled if the resets that have plagued the set piece in recent Tests also become a feature of this tournament.
But Rowntree said: "If you're disciplined and wait for the referee...it's not an issue at all.
"If you don't do a lot of live work, practising variant timings of the cadence [the speed at which the referee announces his mandatory pre-scrum instructions of 'crouch, touch, pause, engage], you're going to struggle.
"How many times have we been penalized for early engagement this calendar year? One. Because we've done a lot of work.
"You have to be disciplined," added Rowntree, a former Leicester team-mate of 2003 World Cup-winning captain Johnson.
Saturday's match will take place under the cover of the new Otago Stadium's permanent roof, angering rugby traditionalists and those who believe England's forward orientated approach would be boosted by a wet-weather game.
However, Rowntree said: "Do we need rain all the time? We like to think we can play in any conditions."
England know what it's like to play 'indoors' after several matches against Wales when the retractable roof at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium has been shut.
The Otago ground's roof is transparent and Rowntree said: "It's covered like a big greenhouse. It holds 30,000 but it feels bigger.
"The noise will be like the Millennium with that roof shut. We're looking forward to it."
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