Eighth-ranked France defeated eleventh-ranked Argentina 23-21 after a drop goal by Camille Lopez. France took a 20-3 lead into the break, but Argentina charged back to take a 21-20 lead before the France drop goal. Argentina had a chance to win in the 79th minute, but the long-range kick by fullback Emiliano Boffelli drifted wide of the posts.
The match was a key one for both teams in the difficult Pool C, which was played at Tokyo Stadium on 21 September. For those who missed the live match in the U.S., a replay may be viewed on NBC Sports Gold as part of a subscription package.
The first scoring opportunity went to Argentina, however, the attempted penalty goal by Nicolás Sánchez was wide left. Argentina then moved the ball to within 5-meters of in-goal. France was penalized and Nicolás Sánchez slotted an easy kick in front of the posts to lead 3-0.
France answered back after a strong run by Damien Penaud down the wide right channel. The ball went left and Virimi Vakatawa finished with a try, which was converted by Romain Ntamack to take a 7-3 lead.
France attacked down the short side after the restart with Damien Penaud offloading to Antoine Dupont for a try in the right corner. Ntamack slotted the conversion near touch to push the lead to 14-3.
After another strong run by Penaud, Argentina was penalized and Ntamack slotted the penalty goal to lead 17-3.
Argentina when having a chance to cut the lead after a penalty, elected to kick for the corner and attack from a lineout. Two penalties by France and two 5-meter scrums later, Argentina was penalized after several scrum resets, allowing France to clear.
A high tackle by Tomás Cubelli on Yoann Huget allowed Ntamack to extend France’s lead to 20-3 into the break.
After a high ball by Emiliano Boffelli that he claimed in the air, France was soon penalized. Argentina elected to kick to touch and after the lineout, Guido Petti scored the first try for the Pumas. Nicolás Sánchez added the conversion to cut the lead to 20-10.
Argentina continued their momentum attacking from a lineout 5-meters from in-goal with replacement hooker Julián Montoya scoring a try to cut the lead to 20-15. The kick by Sánchez was missed.
Argentina counterattacked from an Antoine Dupont kick, advancing to within 5-meter of in-goal before a penalty. Benjamín Urdapilleta slotted the penalty goal to move to within two points, 20-18.
France’s Damien Penaud left for an HIA after challenging for a high ball. This occurred just prior to penalty by France that had Urdapilleta slotting a penalty to take their first lead, 21-20.
After the ensuing kick, France answered back with a Camille Lopez drop goal to quickly reclaim a 23-21 lead. France tried to extend their lead in the 77th minute, but Ntamack’s penalty goal attempt was wide.
In the 79th minute, Virimi Vakatawa made contact with Emiliano Boffelli while he was in the air. Boffelli attempted a penalty goal from near midfield, however, the kick drifted to the left of the posts.
France survived the comeback by Argentina to leave with the win in the difficult Pool C. For the win, France has four points in the standings, while Argentina gained a losing bonus point.
Gaël Fickou was named Player of the Match for France.
Squads & Match Preview
France: 1 Jefferson Poirot, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 3 Rabah Slimani, 4 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sébastien Vaha’amahina, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Grégory Alldritt, 9 Antoine Dupont, 10 Romain Ntamack, 11 Yoann Huget, 12 Virimi Vakatawa, 13 Gaël Fickou, 14 Damien Penaud, 15 Maxime Médard 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Thomas Ramos
Argentina: 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy, 3 Juan Figallo, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera (capt.), 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 13 Matías Orlando, 14 Matías Moroni, 15 Emiliano Boffelli 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Benjamín Urdapilleta, 23 Santiago Carreras