The follow match highlights are courtesy of World Rugby.
France Awakens to Sneak Past Argentina in Tokyo
France awoke from years of under-performing in spectacular fashion this morning. Les Bleus blitzed past Argentina in the first-half Tokyo to win the RWC opening match of Pool C. Drama in the second -half would see a massive fight back but France ultimately were 23-21 winners.
Despite trailing 20-3 at half time it was the South Americans who enjoyed the better start. The troubled scrum was nowhere to be seen as Argentina won penalties from the first two scrum with Juan Figallo getting the better of Jefferson Poirot.
Argentina was able to get good possession as a result of the scrum on both occasions. The second of which provided the first opportunity to score points. It saw Nicolás Sánchez attempting a shot at goal from 40 meters. It was struck well but sailed to the left of the posts.
The miss would be made-up for two minutes later. Sánchez’ three pointer was a let-off for France, though, as Guido Petti made made a clean break to beat three defenders only to be stopped close.
Two minutes after conceding the penalty France turned around the game. A 17th minute break from winger Damian Penaud down the right saw Nicolãs Sánchez left behind. It opened up space for Gael Fickou to score in the left corner.
The blitz continued four minutes later as Penaud again broke clear. Scoring in the right corner was Antoine Dupont with Ntamack again slotting the conversion from the sideline.
In total Argentina would miss a staggering 17 first-half tackles. This would see France firmly in control to not only score tries but to also gain points from penalties. This came in the form of a penalty to Ntamack in the 29th minute after Penaud had again broken past Ramiro Moyano.
With the halt-time siren blow Argentina would conceded another penalty from which Ntamack continued his outstanding performance to make it a 20-3 scoreline.
In the second half the tide turned. The teams traded positions with Argentina’s forwards smashing their way forward, breaking tackles, dominating the scrum, lineout and maul.
It took just two minutes with Guido Petti scoring from an attacking lineout. Creevy threw to Javier Ortega Desio and the forwards knew exactly what to do. Petti, with the support of Lavanini, ran straight and hard to score.
Needing an injection of Mario Ledesma went to the bench. It would swiftly provide impact with Julian Montoya scoring from a rolling-maul. Nicolás Sánchez missed the conversion and would subsequently be replaced by Benjamín Urdapilleta.
Argentina had the upper hand and France were in trouble. They had converted the match from 20-3 to 20-15. More was to follow as Urdapilleta landed a 68th minute penalty.
France responded immediately with a replacement of their own, Camille Lopez landing a drop goal with his first touch of the ball in possession. It gave France a 23-21 lead.
Ntamack returned to have a potential match-winning kick. His penalty attempt missed. Argentina would have a chance of their own with fullback Emiliano Boffelli lining-up a strike from 48 meters out on a wide angle. It just sailed wide.
In his post match interview Mario Ledesma slammed referee Angus Gardner for not penalizing late infringements from Louis Picamoles or Maxime Machanaud in the final minutes.
Pool C continues on Sunday with England facing Tonga in Sapporo. Argentina’s nest match is against Tonga on Saturday, September 28 in Osaka while France will face the USA in Fukuoka on Wednesday, October 02.
RWC Result : Pool C –
FRANCE 🇫🇷 2️⃣ 3️⃣ – 2️⃣ 1️⃣ 🇦🇷 ARGENTINA
France – 23
Tries: Gael Fickou (18′), Antoine Dupont (22′)
Conversions: Romain Ntamack (19′)(23′)
Penalties: Romain Ntamack (30′,40′)
Drop Goals: Camille Lopez (70′)
Argentina – 21
Tries: Guido Petti (42′), Julian Montoya (54′)
Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (43′)
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (15′), Benjamin Urdapilleta (61′,69)
RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
FRA (on 79.72 points) -vs- ARG (on 76.29 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|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)