The Media Guru

Oct 20, 2007


Argentina powered to a convincing victory over France to claim third place in the Rugby World Cup on Friday.

The Pumas, the revelation of the tournament, ran in five tries to snuff out French hopes of revenge for their opening-match defeat last month.
Argentina scored through Felipe Contepomi and Omar Hasan in a fractious first half for 17-3 at the break. Further scores from Federico Aramburu, Ignacio Corleto and Contepomi heaped further embarrassment on France.
Full-back Clement Poitrenaud scored a late consolation for Bernard Laporte's side but Argentina made it six wins out of seven against the French following their 17-12 victory in the pool stages.
"If we'd scored earlier we could have done things differently. But hats off to Argentina, they've had a superb World Cup," said France manager Jo Maso. The third-place play-off is often dubbed "the match that no-one wants" but both sides came out brimming with passion.
France were bright and vibrant and willing to play far more rugby than the territory-dominated kick-fests of their last two matches. Les Bleus, with nine changes from the semi-final against England, enjoyed several promising early attacks before centre David Marty touched down, only to be called back after Aurelien Rougerie's quick line-out was deemed illegal.

Argentina, who had made five changes from their defeat by South Africa, were intent on spoiling France's farewell party and took on the hosts, toe-to-toe at times, as sporadic fighting marked the first quarter.
Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Felipe Contepomi traded kicks before the fired-up French crossed again, though this time flanker Yannick Nyanga was called back for a forward pass.

But Argentina turned up the gas on an already heated encounter when they demonstrated the effectiveness of their free-flowing rugby with two tries in four minutes. Felipe Contepomi sliced over first after good timing down the Pumas backs, before Hasan burrowed over following a piece of good fortune when the ball bounced back off the posts from Juan Martin Hernandez's drop-goal attempt. Contepomi's conversion made it 17-3 to Argentina and the Pumas did well to resist a heavy late barrage at their line.

France went close to narrowing the gap but Yannick Nyanga dropped the ball diving for the line.

But both sides went in with 14 men after France skipper Raphael Ibanez and Argentine lock Rimas Alvarez were sin-binned in a bad-tempered end to the half.
Ten minutes after the break, France found themselves further behind when Corleto broke the line and linked with Manuel Contepomi, who quickly fed the ball through the hands of Patricio Albacete, Hernandez and Alvarez before Aramburu scampered over in the right corner.
France glimpsed a moment of salvation when Argentine replacement Juan Manuel Leguizamon was sin-binned for a shoulder charge on French substitute Sebastien Chabal.

But all hope was extinguished when Horacio Agulla attacked from his own 22 and fed Corleto, who hared home from 60 yards out into the left corner.
France scored a consolation through Poitrenaud on 68 minutes and looked to be finishing strongly but Argentina refused to wilt and worked in Felipe Contepomi for a fifth try with four minutes left.
Argentina's second victory in five weeks over the Six Nations champions made their case even stronger for inclusion into one of the world's major rugby tournaments.

[via BBC Sports]

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