Argentina hoping for third time lucky vs France

Argentina will be hoping to end a home losing streak of two matches when they host the French for the Bicentenary Cup on Saturday.

France visit Argentina as Six Nations champion, but after a 42-17 defeat to the Springboks in Cape Town earlier this month. The French had a confidence boosting 37-14 win last week over the Argentina A side.

Argentina is coming off the back of two defeats to Scotland on the past two Saturdays. The Pumas were a victim of their own indiscipline in both matches, conceding too many penalties.

France coach Mark Lievremont made seven changes to the side that lost to South Africa for Saturday’s match at Jose Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires.

Among the omissions are fullback Clement Poitrenaud, centers David Marty and Maxime Mermoz, winger Aurelien Rougerie, lock Romain Millo-Chluski and prop Thomas Domingo.

“Although the win over Argentina A was complicated, it helped us to regain our confidence after the defeat against South Africa,” France’s No. 8 Louis Picamoles said.

“We know very well the kind of rugby the Pumas play, it’s a good team and for that reason we’ve had to prepare in the best way possible for Saturday’s game.”

Argentine coach Santiago Phelan made three changes to the team that played in last Saturday’s 13-9 loss to Scotland.

Backrower Alejandro Campos replaces Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who moves to the substitutes bench. While scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo and winger Rafael Carballo come on in place of Agustin Figuerola and Horacio Agulla.

“This week we’ve been very concentrated and hope we can put what we’ve been doing in training into practice on the pitch,” saidCampos, who plays his club rugby in France with Montauban.

Argentina and France will meet for the 43rd time, with the French winning on 39 occasions, Argentina on 10 and with one draw.

France won the last match between the teams 12-6 at Marseille on Nov. 2008.

But it’s the two Puma victories over France at the 2007 World Cup – a 17-12 win in the opening game and a 34-10 victory in the playoff for third place – that will have stuck in French memories.

Both teams visited Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Wednesday at the government palace, where captains Felipe Contepomi and Thierry Dusautoir presented her with their respective team shirts.




Nicolas Vergallo, Felipe Contepomi (captain), Rafael Carballo, Santiago Fernandez, Gonzalo Tiesi, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Martin Rodriguez, Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Martin Scelzo, Manuel Carizza, Patricio Albacete, Genaro Fessia, Alejandro Campos, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Marcos Ayerza, Juan Figallo, Mariano Galarza, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Agustin Figuerola, Horacio Agulla.


Morgan Parra, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Malzieu, Florian Fritz, Lionel Mazars, Vincent Clerc, Jerome Porical, Fabien Barcella, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas: Pascal Pape, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Louis Picamoles, ulien Bonaire:

Reserves: Guilhem Guirado, Jean Baptiste Poux, Julien Pierre, Gregory Lamboley, Dimitri Yachvili, David Skrela, Aurelien Rougerie.

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