Revenge on the menu for France
November 19, 2010
Thierry Dusautoir returns to captain France © Getty Images
France take on Argentina in Montpellier on Saturday with revenge on the menu.
The Pumas handed out a painful 41-13 lesson for a lackadaisical French side back in June, ending a miserable month for Marc Lievremont's side after they were left battered and bruised by South Africa.
Argentina got their November campaign underway with a good win over Italy last weekend and will be confident of extending their recent dominance over France, who sent out a second string side to defeat Fiji in Nantes last time out.
France - Player to Watch: He's won a rare start in his favoured No.8 jersey and Sebastien Chabal has a lot to live up to after displacing the superb Imanol Harinordoquy from the side. Will need all of his explosive power to break clear of a tough Pumas pack.
France - Team News: Fly-half Damien Traille is the only survivor of the backline that started against Fiji last weekend, with Aurelien Rougerie and Yannick Jauzion back in midfield and fullback Alexis Palisson and wingers Yoann Huget and Marc Andreu forming a new-look back three. Toulouse hooker William Servat teams up with Thomas Domingo and Nicolas Mas in a revamped front-row while Julien Pierre and Lionel Nallet are recalled in the second-row. Julien Bonnaire and skipper Thierry Dusautoir flank Chabal in the back-row.
Argentina - Player to Watch: Scrum-half Nicolas Vergallo has been winning admirers at Toulouse so far this season and his decision making will be vital if the Pumas are to ensure that France struggle for position.
Argentina - Team News: Santiago Phelan has made only one change from last weekend, Toulouse lock Patricio Albacete slotting in for the injured Manuel Carizza.
Key Battle: There are two scrummaging powerhouses on display and the Pumas will fancy their chances after taking on Italy's fearsome front-row last weekend. The game could well become one of feet and inches for the visitors, who will want to play at their own pace, and a strong set-piece will be vital.
Trivia: Argentina's June win over France was their biggest in the history of the fixture, beating the hammering they dished out in the bronze medal match at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Stats: Hooker Mario Ledesma will move level with legendary scrum-half Agustin Pichot in terms of career appearances against France - this weekend will be his 13th run out against Les Bleus.
"After the pool loss to the Argentinians in 2007 we took refuge in focusing on avenging that defeat in the third place match and being very aggressive and the game totally passed us by and conceded nearly 40 points." - France skipper Dusautoir reflects on an unhappy time
"I think that it is the best match Argentina have played in the past two years. We succeeded with everything we tried, but that is indeed a rare match. Normally we would have committed a lot more mistakes. It is the perfect match that one produces in every 10 matches." - Argentina skipper Felipe Contepomi praises their June victory
Prediction: Argentina will fight for all they are worth but with revenge on the agenda and their big guns back in on home soil France should have too much firepower.
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