Planet Rugby

Another big win for France

17th November 2012 21:39

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France s number eight Louis Picamoles v Argentina

Another: Louis Picamoles

France followed up last weekend's drubbing of Australia with another convincing display as they beat Argentina 39-22 in Lille on Saturday.

With England, Wales, Scotland and Italy losing to southern opposition this weekend - Ireland were playing in a non-cap international - the French confirmed their status as the top European team in the world rankings.

France led 24-13 at the end of an action-packed first-half that saw the momentum and the lead swing back and forth.

Argentina were 13-3 head after 15 minutes but two Vincent Clerc tries in the space of two minutes handed the initiative back to the hosts, who went into the interval with their tails up after Yannick Nyanga added a third try just before the break.

The second period proved much tighter with Fred Michalak's boot securing the win.

France showed their intentions to get the ball wide at pace early on and Michalak could have opened the scoring from the kicking tee when the Pumas were caught offside.

But the visitors were first to cross the whitewash after a brilliant break in midfield that saw Nicolas Sanchez and Gonzalo Tiesi switch the angle of attack twice before putting Marcelo Bosch away to score under the posts.

Sanchez added two more penalties to stretch the lead to ten points and the Pumas were looking dangerous as they regularly broke up the centre of the field, just like they did against Wales a week ago.

Les Bleus would have the better of the second quarter though with Louis Picamoles once again at the heart of their forward momentum. The big number eight and Pascal Papé combined to send Maxime Machenaud down the touchline, the scrum-half threw a wild pass inside but Clerc could pick it up to score.

Moments later Florian Fritz's neat chip ahead sat up perfectly for the racing Clerc and the wing could sprint home.

Off the back of a French maul, Nyanga handed off two defenders before using his pace to bolt home for a brilliant solo try and give the hosts an 11-point lead at half time.

The second half was more of a dog fight as Sanchez and Michalak traded penalties and drop-goals to leave the status quo with 15 minutes left.

The French fly-half broke the pattern in the dying minutes however as the Pumas ran out of steam, adding two more penalties to secure the win.

Man of the match: Plenty of candidates with the French back-row looking particularly good. We'll go for Yannick Nyanga whose blistering pace earned him a try, but he put in plenty of hard graft too.

Moment of the match: France never looked back after Clerc's second try.

Villain of the match: A few handbags emerged, but nothing too rough.

The scorers:

For France:
Tries: Clerc 2, Nyanga
Cons: Michalak 3
Pens: Michalak 5
Drop: Michalak

For Argentina:
Try: Bosch
Con: Sanchez
Pens: Sanchez 4
Drop: Sanchez

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Florian Fritz , 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé (c), 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Vincent Debaty, 19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Yoann Huget.

Argentina: 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Marcelo Bosch, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Tomas De la Vega, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Gonzalo Camacho, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.

Venue: Stade Lille Metropole
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), David Changleng (Scotland)
Television match official: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

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