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Author Topic: Rugby WC Curtain raiser :Argentina vs France : Match Preview  (Read 1108 times)

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Rugby WC Curtain raiser :Argentina vs France : Match Preview
« on: September 07, 2007, 06:40:46 PM »

Argentina hope to make it third time lucky

Agustín Pichot in action at the Stade de France
PARIS, 6 September – Argentina will be hoping to make it third time lucky when they again try to win the opening match of a rugby world cup against host nation France at Stade de France on Friday.

The Pumas lost to Wales and Australia, respectively, in the opening matches of RWC 1999 and RWC 2003 and need to get off to a solid start this time around if they are to progress from arguably the tournament's toughest pool, which also includes Ireland.

As usual, Argentina will rely on a combination of bulk and experience in their forward pack and the spark of captain Agustín Pichot, who can cause nightmares for opposing defences with his enigmatic play.

Standing in Argentina's way is a formidable French side that is ranked third in the world in the IRB rankings, is the reigning Six Nations champion and is one of the favourites to win the tournament.

France coach Bernard Laporte has been experimenting with different combinations in his side's three warm-up matches in August – all French victories.

He has now settled on a veteran, forward-heavy squad to combat the strength of the Pumas, who have won four of their past five matches against France.

The last time these two sides met, at Stade de France in November 2006, the Argentines rallied from 27-9 behind but ultimately fell short by a point, 27-26.

With fly half Frédéric Michalak and number 8 Sébastien Chabal starting on the replacements bench, however, France have plenty of weapons in reserve should they need a spark late in the match.

Kick-off is at 21:00 Central European Time.

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