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RWC Preview: Pool C – France vs Argentina

Match three of RWC 2019 sees a fierce rivalry set to explode in Tokyo as Argentina take-on France. The match is to open Pool C, the tournament’s Pool of Death.

Argentine Head Coach Mario Ledesma experimented during the 2019 internationals only to revert to the formation from the 20-16 loss to New Zealand. The identical line-up which started that match will do so against France on Saturday in Tokyo.

The decision to select such a side sees thirteen Jaguares starting for Los Pumas. The non-Jaguars players are Juan Figallo and Nicolás Sánchez who play in England and France respectively. Figallo is formerly of Montpellier while Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustín Creevy, Tomás Lavanini, and captain Pablo Matera also have connections to France.

The two starting Jaguares to miss out on starting against France are fly half Joaquín Díaz Bonilla and tight head Santiago Medrano. The former is now playing for Racing 92 in France with the latter named on the bench, covering Figallo.

The front-row will be highly experienced with Figallo in his third RWC; and Tetaz Chaparro and Creevy both in their second. The same is true of the second-row with Guido Petti and Lavanini being the same combination from RWC 2015. The one forward in his first RWC is flanker Marcos Kremer.

In the backs Tomás Cubelli will partner Nicolás Sánchez in the halves. They are the same combination as that from Los Pumas’ opening match four years ago against New Zealand in London. The remaining backs are all changed.

In the mid-field Los Jaguares regular starting duo of Jerónimo de la Fuente and Matías Orlando will start together. This sees natural center Matías Moroni playing on the right wing. He will join Ramiro Moyano, and Emiliano Boffelli in the back-three.

France’s side is not one resembling that of regular international competition together. It sees a side more closely resembling a line-up named to open a RWC against a weaker opponent.

In the forwards Arthur Iturria starts at lock despite eight of his prior thirteen caps having come at flanker. He will join veteran Sébastien Vaha’amahina in locking the scrum. They will play behind Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado, and Rabah Slimani in the front-five.

Completing the starting forwards will be a back-row of Wenceslas Lauret, Charles Ollivon, and Grégory Alldritt. The combination have no prior experience in starting a test match together.

In the backs Antoine Dupont will be partnered by Romain Ntamack in the halves. This sees Camille Lopez on the bench. Outside Ntamack will be Virimi Vakatawa who fills in for the injured Wesley Fofana at inside center.

The decision to play Vakatawa at inside center is unprecedented with all 18 of his prior caps having been on the wing for France. He will play inside Gaël Fickou, another combination with no prior experience together.

Out wide France has a more common selection. It sees Yoann Huget and Damien Penaud playing on the wings, and Maxime Médard at fullback.

International competition between Argentina and France dates back to 1949. Since then there have been a total of 51 matches between the countries. France has 36 wins compared to 14 by Argentina while there has been one prior draw. At RWCs Argentina has 2 wins and France 1.

The positioning of this fixture in week one sees both teams thrust straight into a must-win match. It is more urgent for Argentina due to their third match being against England and that falling a week before France play the same fixture.

Both teams have the ability to win the showdown in Tokyo. The unpredictability of both demonstrated during the RWC 2015-2019 cycle implies this. Los Pumas, though were genuinely experimental throughout 2019. The backbone of Los Jaguares gives ARN tilting the result towards the Americas. Argentina are favorites to win by 6 points.

RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED

FRA (on 79.72 points) at a Neutral venue -vs- ARG (on 76.29 points) in a RWC match

Possible Outcome Rating Point
Will ARG
overtake FRA?
If FRA win by 1-15 points 1.314 81.03 74.98 No
If FRA win by more than 15 1.971 81.69 74.32 No
If result is a draw 0.686 79.03 76.98 No
If ARG win by 1-15 points 2.686 77.03 78.98 Yes
If ARG win by more than 15 4.029 75.69 80.32 Yes


1 Jefferson Poirot, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 3 Rabah Slimani, 4 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sébastien Vaha’amahina, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Grégory Alldritt, 9 Antoine Dupont, 10 Romain Ntamack, 11 Yoann Huget, 12 Virimi Vakatawa, 13 Gaël Fickou, 14 Damien Penaud, 15 Maxime Médard

Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Thomas Ramos

1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy, 3 Juan Figallo, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera (capt.), 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 13 Matías Orlando, 14 Matías Moroni, 15 Emiliano Boffelli

Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Benjamín Urdapilleta, 23 Santiago Carreras

Date: Saturday, September 21
Kick-Off: 4:15 pm (local), 4:15am (Rio de la Plata), 3:15am (Eastern), 12:45am (Pacific)
Venue: Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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