French World Cup hopes suffer setback against Argentina

FRANCE’S build-up to the World Cup suffered a major setback on Saturday when they crashed to a 10-6 defeat to Ireland’s Pool A opponents Argentina.

Eddie O’Sullivan’s side face the South Americans in their penultimate pool game on Sunday October 26 in Adelaide Oval.

It was a morale-sapping defeat for Bernard Laporte’s side especially as they dominated large parts of the match but were unable to convert their pressure into pointsArgentina got off to a flying start when Jose Maria Nunez Piossek scored the opening try of the game after just two minutes.

Scrum-half Nicolas Fernandez-Miranda swept quick ball to Felipe Contepomi who then fed Diego Alabese and his pass allowed Piossek to break through a poor tackle by Thomas Castaignede to score. Felipe Contepomi added the conversion.

A minute later, France had a chance to hit back when they were awarded a penalty, but Toulouse stand-off Yann Delaigue, playing for the international side for the first time in six years, sliced his kick wide of the posts.

Ten minutes later, Castaignede burst through the middle but was stopped by a resolute Argentinian defence. However, from a resulting scrum, the home side were penalised allowing Delaigue to make amends, but his 25-yard kick was this time hooked wide.

In the 19th minute, Felipe Contepomi showed his French counterpart how to do it when he kicked a difficult penalty after France were caught offside and the score moved to 10-0.

French coach Bernard Laporte, who had left regulars Jean-Jacques Crenca, Raphael Ibanez, Fabien Pelous, Olivier Brouzet, Olivier Magne and Serge Betsen at home to recharge their batteries ahead of the World Cup, would have been left frustrated by his side’s inability to make the most of possession.

France registered their first points three minutes after the break when Damien Traille took over the kicking duties and was successful with a difficult long range penalty to cut the deficit to seven points.

After 50 minutes, Delaigue found his range with another penalty while Contepomi lost his missing a chance to restore a seven point lead with a botched penalty. The French kept up the pressure.

David Auradou knocked-on when in front of the posts after a scintillating succession of passes crossfield while winger Christophe Dominici ran into a crunching tackle as he tried to speed away to score.

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