FOR 3RD PLACE PAYOFF SEE HERE
From the opening game this world cup is setting itself up as one you’re not going to forget in a hurry. What an upset. What drama. What a classic.
We have all been Frenched – just when we thought they’d pulled their act together and ironed that erratic streak out, it turns up in spades in match one of the Rugby World Cup. France tonight would have been better off putting their replacement forwards out as the backline. Seriously, because tonight the French backline just literally never showed up.
While no-one shone for the French, the three glaring cock-up culprits, in order were; Skrela (10), a complete shambles, couldn’t pass, catch or kick from hand or ground; Haymans (15) spent the whole night out of position dropping high balls and kicked like a girl; Mignoni, seemed to think players like catching the ball 3 feet above and 2 feet behind them.
The whole team pushed and dropped passes constantly and laboured every ball. A total shambles. And as always seems to follow the frogs when they play like this (usually at Twickenham) the ref Spreadbury had a shocker, the rub of the green and patrolling of the breakdown definitely going the Pumas way, which only caused the frogs to implode even more.
And which “second tier” team do you not want to show this sort of form to? Argentina. Who tonight played the perfect scragging, high ball chasing, break-down hustling, intercept making, kick to the corner pain in the arse game that you really don’t want to have a shit game against.
The whole Argy team played a blinder in the loose (surprisingly their pack in the tight was bested), but perhaps fittingly, and as a complete opposite to the French, it was their 9-10 combination that shone. Pichot was absolutely everywhere, chipping, chasing, intercepting and never seeming out of breath. The 15 turned 10 Hernández ran, passed and kicked from hand beautifully.
As a game to watch it was pretty ordinary – not enough continuity to get into and the only try coming from a double intercept. From an Aussie point of view, as pointed out in an earlier post
Australia World Cup Draw Scenarios, this could be the start of a perfect storm for Australia. Should the Wallabies lose to the Welsh, and as a bonus should England beat the Boks, France, New Zealand and South Africa would all be on the other side of the draw, to slug it out for the pleasure of playing us in the final. You can’t say this wouldn’t have crossed Knuckles’ mind……
See here for stats
Pens: Skréla 4
Pens: Felipe Contempomi 4
France: 15 Cédric Heymans, 14 Aurélien Rougerie, 13 Damien Traille, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Christophe Dominici, 10 David Skréla, 9 Pierre Mignoni, 8 Imañol Harinordoquy, 7 Rémy Martin, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Jérôme Thion, 4 Fabien Pelous, 3 Pieter De Villiers, 2 Raphaël Ibañez (captain), 1 Olivier Milloud.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Sébastian Chabal, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Thierry Dusautoir, 21 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 22 Frédéric Michalak.
Argentina: 15 Ignacio Corleto, 14 Lucas Borges, 13 Manuel Contepomi, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Agustín Pichot (captain), 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Lucas Ostiglia, 6 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Martín Scelzo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Alberto Vernet Basualdo, 17 Santiago Gonzalez Bonorino, 18 Rimas Alvarez, 19 Martín Durand, 20 Nicolás Fernandez Miranda, 21 Federico Todeschini, 22 Hernán Senillosa.
Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)
Touch judges: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Picture care of RugbyHeaven