France survive early scare to beat Argentina

France followed their thrashing of Australia with a convincing 39-22 win against Argentina on Saturday, as prolific winger Vincent Clerc scored two tries and flanker Yannick Nyanga got the other after an early scare.


The Pumas carved through midfield and center Marcelo Bosch scored a converted try in the fifth minute. Backup goalkicker Nicolas Sanchez added two penalties to stretch their lead to 13-3.


Last weekend, France routed the Wallabies 33-6 and Argentina stunned Six Nations champion Wales 26-12.


But there was no repeat for Argentina as Clerc’s clinical streak took his international tally to 34 tries and within four of Serge Blanco’s national record.


“We started the match poorly and didn’t show the same commitment we had against Australia,” Clerc said. “They got us on the back foot but then we were more aggressive and imposed our game on them.”


In a physical encounter, France lock Pascal Pape left the field at halftime with blood pouring from a cut above his left eyebrow.


Argentina got on top right away, exposing some lackluster defending to advance 40 meters with ease before Bosch gratefully accepted an offload to score almost unchallenged.


France’s first try had a hint of good fortune, with center Maxime Mermoz blindly throwing the ball behind him. Clerc sensed the chance, snatching the loose ball near the left wing and darting inside.


“We reacted well and kept going. The second half wasn’t as good but we did the main thing and got another win, so let’s not stop here,” France No. 8 Louis Picamoles said ahead of next weekend’s final autumn test against Samoa.


“We get on well together and we want to show it out on the pitch. Samoa will be very, very hard to beat. They showed that by beating Wales yesterday.”


France, the World Cup finalist a year ago, is aiming to be among the top four seeds for the 2015 World Cup when the draw is made next month – thus avoiding the southern hemisphere favorites in the group stage.


Clerc is the Top 14’s top scorer and showed just why on his second try midway through the first half. He had great awareness to anticipate midfielder Florian Fritz’s kick ahead, judged the bounce of the ball well, and used his speed to do the rest.


Nyanga then got his fifth international try, and first since the 2007 World Cup, in the 31st breaking two tackles before galloping 30 meters.


Michalak plunked on five penalties and a dropped goal for a personal tally of 24.


Sanchez added two further penalties and a dropped goal of his own in the second half.


Final Score France 39 (24) Argentina 22 (13)


Scorers


France
Tries: Clerc 2, Nyanga
Penalties: Michalak 6
Conversions: Michalak 3


Argentina
Tries: Bosch
Conversions: Sanchez
Penalties: Sanchez 4
Drop-goals: Sanchez


Referee: Steve Walsh (AUS)


France


Brice Dulin; Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Vincent Clerc; Frederic Michalak, Maxime Machenaud; Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yannick Nyanga; Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape (capt); Nicolas Mas, Dimitri Szarzewski, Yannick Forestier


Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Thomas Domingo, Vincent Debaty, Jocelino Suta, Damien Chouly, Morgan Parra, Francois Trinh-Duc, Yoann Huget


Argentina


Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Horacio Agulla, Gonzalo Tiesi, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Imhoff; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Leonardo Senatore, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (capt); Julio Farias Cabello, Manuel Carizza; Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza


Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Lobo, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Tomas Vallejos, Tomas de la Vega, Tomas Cubelli, Gonzalo Camacho, Joaquin Tuculet

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