France hand Argentina record defeat
June 24, 2012
France's Yoann Huget celebrates one of the two tries he scored in his side's six-try victory
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France returned to top form with a record 49-10 victory over Argentina at the Estadio José Fierro in Tucuman on Saturday night.
Les Bleus bounced back from their narrow 23-20 defeat to the Pumas in Cordoba last weekend to end its 14-year losing streak in Argentina in some style and level the two-Test series. The visitors' six-tries-to-one eclipsed their 47-12 victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1995 with fly-half Frederic Michalak impressing with a 19-point haul in his first start for five years.
France made six changes to the side edged out in their last outing including handing Agen scrum-half Maxime Machenaud his international debut while Pumas boss Santiago Phelan also opted to rotate his options ahead of their Rugby Championship bow in August.
Wingers Yoann Huget and Benjamin Fall both crossed before the break as did Machenaud who impressed throughout. Centre Maxime Mermoz heaped further woe on the hosts after the break as France continued to dominate up front before Huget added his second that was followed by another by flanker Alexandre Lapandry.
Argentina grabbed a consolation score six minutes from time through flanker Tomas de la Vega. Felipe Contepomi added the conversion to his first half penalty in what could be his last game for the Pumas with his club commitments with Top 14 side Stade Francais set to deny him the chance to grace the Rugby Championship.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't play well and when you make so many mistakes they then prove to be very expensive," said Contepomi. "We knew what the French were coming to do but we didn't know what to do to counter it."
France's victory ended a run of four games without a win having seen their Six Nations challenge falter at the hands Ireland, England and Wales before last weekend's defeat to Argentina.
The result ended Argentina's run of five straight victories that saw them power to the South American Championship title before accounting for Italy and France in their opening June internationals. They kick off their Rugby Championship against South Africa in Cape Town on August 18.
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