Saturday, November 20, 2010

France defeat Argentina in tryless match

Both hosts France and Argentina tried to play positive rugby in todays match in Montpellier but two factors had a bigger influence on the match. 1. rain in the days leading up to the game and 2. the referee. Both teams broke the opposition line only to turn over ball due to wet conditions as knockons were a theme of the contest throughout. South African referee, Johnathan Kaplan, however, prevented the match from being what it should have been. He made some bad calls as a referee as he showed both sides and everyone watching who was in charge of the game. Argentina were penalized in the 18th minute for having a player in front of the kicker. Replays, confirmed, however that no player was in front of the kicker. Such examples continued throughout the course of the game. When will the IRB learn that matches involving France and Argentina require a French speaking referee? Players from both teams were penalized with strange looks on their faces as they were not sure what exactly the problem was.

On paper France were better in the backs and had a better backrow however they failed to dominate in these areas. Instead France had the better frontrow with their scrum impressing. Aurelien Rougerie had a memorable debut as an international centre making two clean linebreaks but his success in the backs was rare in this match. Argentina did better in the back three with the trio of Lucas González Amorisino, Gonzalo Camacho and Martín Rodriguez Gurruchaga proving to be superior to the French. With Rugby World Cup 2011 fast approaching it is fair to suggest that Los Pumas have found themselves a very dangerous back three.

French scrumhalf, Morgan Parra kicked a penalty goal after 11 minutes to put France 3-0 ahead but the scores were equalized five minutes latter with Felipe Contepomi slotting an easy penalty to even the scores. Parra kicked another in the 26th minute after France had their best attacking phase of the match as they camped on the Pumas try line but in the end France settled for a penalty. With a furth Parra penalty in the 30th minute France put themselves 6 points ahead and this is how the first half would remain.

The second half was all Argentina with the forwards opting for two or three phases pf forward play repeatedly before Vergallo released to the backs. The likes of Camacho, Rodriguez, Amorisino and Tiesi all did well at times against their larger opponents. The speed shown was a clear sign of the changes coach Sanitago Phelan has implemented following his arival in place of Marcelo Loffreda in 2008.

Los Pumas were advancing upfield into France´s 22 and were awarded a penalty in the 46th minute which Contepomi goaled.  France, clearly feeling the game falling into Argentina´s hands kicked the ball long from the restart and after Rougerie did well again in combination with Yoann Huget, flyhalf Damien Traille slotted a drop goal to put France 6 points ahead again at 12-6. Both Parra and Contepomi then kicked a penalty goal each as France led 15-9 after 61 minutes as the wet conditions continued to let both teams down with simple handling errors. No further points would be scored by either side but Pumas winger, Camacho came close as he got passed the favored French speedster, Marc Andreu to race up the touchline but Parra managed to tackle him into touch.

Credit should be given to the FFR for securing the services of former Argentine prop Omar Hasan to perform his country´s national anthem.

Man of the match: Aurelien Rougerie.


  1. I was unable to watch the match as they were no live commentary here in Malaysia. They did showed the Italy vs. Australia instead.

    Well guess I didn’t miss much considering no one scored a try. Now I’m off to find any videos on Omar HASSAN’s performance.

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