Argentina loses to impressive young French team

Fabien Galthie’s new France defeated Los Pumas 28-13 in the first test match in Argentina.

Felipe Contepomi’s first match as coach of the home team was played at the Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza.

Captain Baptiste Serin and debutants Antoine Frisch and Theo Attissogbe scored tries for Les Bleus, who were without star scrum-half Antoine Dupont, who is preparing to play Sevens at the Paris Olympics.

Captain Julian Montoya and replacement Matias Orlando were Los Pumas’ try scorers, while former flyhalf Contepomi was left behind after replacing Michael Cheika following last year’s World Cup, when Argentina lost to England in the third-place play-off.

Contepomi made nine changes from their last match, the World Cup play-offs in October, but were still able to field an experienced team that included winger Pablo Matera, who was playing his 99th international match.

France coach Fabien Galthie gave seven players from his starting XI their debuts, including Montpellier winger Lenni Nouchi, who was called up on Friday to replace the ill Judicael Cancoriet.

The most experienced member of Galthie’s team, captain and replacement for Dupont Serin, he was making his 45th Test match, eight years after his international debut for Argentina. Les Bleus’ last defeat was against the home side.

After an opening 20 minutes for both teams, Les Bleus flyhalf Antoine Hastoy opened the scoring with a penalty.

Three minutes later Argentina equalised when Santiago Carreras, Los Pumas’ first-choice flyhalf at the World Cup, converted a penalty.

Argentina came close to opening the match just before the half-hour mark, but debuting French midfielder Frisch made a superb tackle in the left corner to prevent winger Bautista Delguy from getting the ball to the ground.

The visitors closed the first half brightly, taking control of the match when 30-year-old Serin scored a sublime solo try, also making a 40-metre break after a powerful French scrum deep in Argentine territory.

Hastoy scored the conversion to make it 10-3 as Les Bleus sought their fifth victory over Argentina.

Just five minutes after the break, France extended their lead when the impressive Frisch, who turned 28 on Monday, crossed the line and Hastoy added another goal to make it 17-3.

With 20 minutes remaining, France’s lead was reduced to 20-8 when Pumas captain Julian Montoya crossed the line after La Rochelle’s Hastoy had taken a second penalty.

Any hopes of an Argentina comeback were dashed with 13 minutes remaining when French winger Attissogbe celebrated his own Test debut with a try.

The Pau flyer smashed through three defenders to make it 25-8.

With three minutes remaining, Argentina claimed a consolation try through Orlando.

The teams meet again on Saturday in Buenos Aires, four days after a French team selected from the remaining travel group plays a non-test match against Uruguay in Montevideo.

Argentina 13 (Try: Montoya, Orlando; Pen: Carreras) France 28 (Try: Serin, Frisch, Attissogbe; Cons: Hastoy 2; Pens: Hastoy 2, Jaminet)

Argentina: 15 Martin Bogado, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Joaquin Oviedo, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo.
Substitutes: 16 Ignacio Ruiz, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Franco Molina, 20 Bautista Pedemonte, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Orlando.

France: 15 Leo Barre, 14 Theo Attissogbe, 13 Emilien Gailleton, 12 Antoine Frisch, 11 Lester Etien, 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Oscar Jegou, 7 Jordan Joseph, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Baptiste Pesenti, 4 David Auradou, 3 Georges-Henri Colombe, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Substitutes: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Posolo Tuilagi, 20 Mickael Guillard, 21 Lenni Nouchi, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

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