Late try sinks Le Bleus

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Argentina scored a late try to complete a come-from-behind 23-20 win over France on Saturday as the tourists failed to end their 14-year wait for a victory on the Pumas soil.

France led 14-13 at half-time before stretching their advantage at the Mario Kempes Stadium in Cordoba to 20-13 with two more second-half penalties by scrumhalf Morgan Parra.

But Argentina, fresh from a 37-22 win over Italy last weekend, hit back with a penalty from skipper Felipe Contepomi before a try three minutes from time from winger Manuel Montero, converted by Contepomi, gave the home side victory.

France, whose last win in Argentina came back in 1998, had led at the interval thanks to a 25th-minute try from No8 Louis Picamoles and three penalties from Parra.

The Pumas, however, had scored the first try of the match after only four minutes when winger Belisario Agulla scored off an interception.

Contepomi converted before the centre also added two penalties.

France manager Philippe Saint-André commented: “You have to congratulate the Argentines who never let up over 80 minutes.

“As for us, we have to respect the game. When you concede 13 points in the first half it’s hard to win an international match.

“We’re going to prepare well for the second Test, but today we lost and bravo to the Argentines.”

The coach added: “We’re going to try to stop interceptions, that cost us 14 points. At the top level you have to score when the going’s good and not concede when times are tough.

“The Argentines had only a couple of decent periods and on each occasion, due to our mistakes, they scored. They are a young side like us but they are more pragmatic.”

Losing captain Pascal Pape echoed his coach’s sentiments, reflecting: “The match was tough, as it always is against the Argentine, but I think we could have won it.

“If we want to become a great side we have to be good in front of hostile crowds.”

Argentine coach Santiago Phelan said that despite the result his side still had aspects of their game to work on.

“We’ve got lots of things to correct, especially in finding touch and in the scrum, but also in keeping the ball.

“Yet overall we’re satisfied to have been able to beat a team like France with a young side.”

The two sides meet again in Tucuman next weekend.

French prop Yvan Watremez, who picked up a left leg injury on debut, is highly doubtful for the second Test.

Saint-André will announce his line-up for the Tucuman Test on Thursday.


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