May 23, 2013
Argentina snatch win over France
Rugby - Test matches
Debutant Manuel Montero scored a late winning try for Argentina, who narrowly defeated France 23-20 in Córdoba. The visitors had the better possession, but mistakes handed the Pumas a try in each half, while France could only manage one try.
CÓRDOBA — Pumas wings Beli-sario Agulla and Manuel Montero scored tries as Argentina beat France 23-20 in the first test in the Mario Alberto Kempes stadium in Córdoba yesterday. Centre Felipe Contepomi kicked 13 points with three penalties and two conversions.
It was Argentina’s second consecutive victory in the June test window after they beat Italy in San Juan last weekend. They meet France again in Tucumán next Saturday.
The home side, having conceded an early penalty kicked by France scrumhalf Morgan Parra, went 7-3 up with the try by Agulla and captain Contepomi’s first conversion.
However, number eight Louis Picamoles went over for France close to the half-hour mark and two more Parra penalties helped the visiting side go in 14-13 ahead at halftime.
Further penalties from Parra and flyhalf François Trinh-Duc to one from Contepomi had the French leading 20-16 but they were unable to take advantage when Pumas number eight Tomas Leonardi went to the sin bin.
With four minutes left and France, who have not won a game in Argentina against the Pumas since 1998, enjoying the lions share of possession, Contepomi recovered the ball in defence, centre Joaquín Tuculet kicked ahead and Montero chased for a try with the captain converting.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andrea left the experienced trio of Thierry Dusautoir, Imanol Harinordoquy and Nicolas Mas at home with eye on the 2015 World Cup.
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan is preparing his team ahead of the Pumas’ debut in the Rugby Championship in August. Regular prop Rodrigo Roncero wasn’t selected.
Yesterday’s clash between Argentina and France in Córdoba was the 45th meeting of the two sides and the fifth consecutive Argentine victory over France on home soil.
France have traditionally had the upper hand in the series, winning 32 of the 44 previous matches.
In total, France have scored 1068 points in this fixture compared to the Argentina’s 704. The difference widens in terms of tries scored, with France on 134 tries compared to Argentina’s 47.
Argentina started their summer series in convincing fashion last weekend with an excellent 37-22 win over a vastly more experienced Italy side. The Pumas are currently unbeaten in 2012.