Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Sanchez boots Argentina to victory

Nicolas Sanchez's virtuoso kicking display led Argentina to a deserved 18-13 win at France - their first against Les Bleus on French soil since 2007.

The Toulon fly-half converted three of Argentina's four drop goals on the night and kicked over two penalties as the Pumas led 18-3 early in the second half.

The hosts, who failed to display the same intensity that had seen them comfortably beat Fiji and edge Australia earlier this month, did not give up with Wesley Fofana scoring the only try of the game in the 57th minute.

Les Bleus cut the gap to 18-13 in the 64th minute and almost pulled off a late comeback but Scott Spedding's try in the last play of the game was overruled by touch judge Steve Walsh as the player was deemed to have been held up.

The win is Argentina's second this autumn after they beat Italy 20-18 last week after previously falling 41-31 to Scotland.

France went into the game at the Stade de France without 21-year-old Racing Metro wing Teddy Thomas, who was dropped by coach Philippe Saint-Andre because he had missed a training session this week.

The South Americans welcomed back Agustin Creevy from injury and the Argentina captain earned a penalty in the opening minute, which was slotted over by Sanchez.

France could have tied the game in the 12th minute but Lopez missed with his own penalty attempt and five minutes later Sanchez's drop goal doubled Argentina's lead.

The visitors were forced to make a substitution shortly after with Marcelo Bosch sustaining a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Gonzalez Iglesias.

In the 26th minute, Les Bleus were penalised for offside and Sanchez made no mistake to extend his team's lead.

Argentina then hit France with two consecutive drop goals - the first from Juan Martin Hernandez and the next by Sanchez to go 15-0 up.

Camille Lopez kicked the hosts' first points of the game after Argentina were penalised for pulling down a maul.

But the Pumas picked up where they left off after the re-start and in the 45th minute, Sanchez missed a penalty for the first time to give the French hope.

Two minutes later, a third drop goal by Sanchez - and fourth overall for the Pumas - extended Argentina's lead to 18-3.

The French reacted and got a try in the 57th minute.

Fofana bulldozed his way over after hitting substitute Rory Kockott's pop pass at pace. Lopez kicked the resulting conversion to make it 18-10.

The French continued to press forward and a Kockott penalty closed the gap to 18-13 with 16 minutes remaining.

Roared by the fans, Les Bleus made a last-ditch effort to get a try.

The crowd and the players believed they had won the game when Spedding went over but their claims were waved away without the use of the Television Match Official and Argentina were left celebrating a huge victory.


From Belfast Telegraph