France find rhythm after error-strewn start back in front of fans

By Sports Desk November 06, 2021

France were delighted to welcome back a home crowd at the Stade de France for Saturday's Test against Argentina, but captain Antoine Dupont suggested the occasion contributed to their sloppy play.

Les Bleus were playing a home Test for the first time since crowds returned following the coronavirus shutdown.

Dupont and his team-mates were able to celebrate the reunion with a win, edging Los Pumas 29-20 despite having to wait until the 50th minute for the first try through Thibaud Flament.

Melvyn Jaminet's work from the tee had kept France in the match up to that point and he finished with five penalties along with successful conversions from both tries.

But Dupont recognised Les Bleus lacked discipline in their opening November international, referring to "a lot of mistakes" in a post-match interview with France Tele.

"The victory is there but we are able to do much better," the stand-in skipper added.

"It also felt good to no longer sing the Marseillaise alone in a stadium. It's been a long time since we've played together.

"There was a lot of appetite and enthusiasm on everyone's part, which led to small mistakes but it was for good reason."

Related items

  • Argentina's Chile reception irks De Paul Argentina's Chile reception irks De Paul

    Rodrigo De Paul claims Argentina were subjected to some rough off-field treatment from hosts Chile before their World Cup qualifier.

    The midfielder said the Albiceleste were prevented from using the bathroom on arrival, had no air conditioning or water and were made to suffer the sound of sirens during their stay in Calama. 

    It did not appear to derail the visitors, already safely through to Qatar 2022, as they secured a 2-1 win despite the COVID-enforced absences of Lionel Messi and coach Lionel Scaloni.

    "They didn't even let us go to the bathroom when we got off the plane," De Paul told reporters. "They cut off our air conditioners, we had no water and they made sirens sound throughout the stay.

    "I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but, as an Argentine, every team that comes to my country, we have to make them feel as comfortable as possible and we have to win on the playing field where it belongs."

    Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez netted first-half goals around Ben Brereton-Diaz's looping header as Argentina extended their unbeaten run to 27 games.

    The victory improves second-placed Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign to 32 points from 14 games, while Chile are battling to reach Qatar 2022.

    After a solid if unspectacular showing, assistant coach Walter Samuel was pleased to see how well the team coped despite being without talisman Messi.

    "Sure there are things to improve, but the team showed character in a difficult environment," he said.

    "Messi is the leader of this team, but we were able to do very well without him. We lacked other guys because of Covid that we wanted to be there, but the team made a great effort and I want to thank them for that.

    "The character of the boys is moving. All the players start from scratch and want to earn a place in the World Cup. There is healthy competition here."

  • Chile 1-2 Argentina: Di Maria and Martinez strikes extend Albiceleste's unbeaten run Chile 1-2 Argentina: Di Maria and Martinez strikes extend Albiceleste's unbeaten run

    Already-qualified Argentina flexed their muscle without Lionel Messi with a 2-1 away win over Chile leaving their 2022 World Cup qualification hopes at major risk on Thursday.

    Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez netted first-half goals around Ben Brereton-Diaz's looping header as Albiceleste extended their unbeaten run to 27 games.

    The victory improves second-placed Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign to 32 points from 14 games, while Chile are battling to reach Qatar 2022.

    La Roja, who suffered their second straight home defeat, have 16 points from 15 games and are seventh in the standings, three points behind Uruguay in the fourth automatic qualification spot after they won 1-0 in Paraguay.

    Paris Saint-Germain winger Di Maria silenced the home Calama crowd in the ninth minute when he curled home a trademark left-foot strike from outside the box for his 23rd international goal.

    Blackburn Rovers attacker Brereton-Diaz leveled the game up in the 20th minute when he precisely headed over Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Marcelino Nunez's diagonal cross.

    Argentina restored their lead, just as Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had gestured to be substituted due to injury, with the veteran stopper unable to hold Rodrigo De Paul's long-range strike allowing Martinez to fire home the rebound in the 34th minute.

    The visitors weathered Chile's late pressure, with Brereton-Diaz forcing a good low save from Martinez with an 84th-minute header.

  • England centre Tuilagi could be fit for Italy Six Nations clash England centre Tuilagi could be fit for Italy Six Nations clash

    Manu Tuilagi could be fit for England's second match of the Six Nations against Italy at Stadio Olimpico.

    The Sale Sharks centre has been sidelined since suffering a torn hamstring when he scored a try in the Red Rose's win over South Africa at Twickenham in November.

    Tuilagi is on course to make his return for Sale against Harlequins in the Premiership a week on Sunday, the day after England face Scotland in their Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.

    And Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson says the 30-year-old powerhouse may be back in international action in Rome on February 13.

    "Harlequins is the projected return, and then we will see how he feels for Six Nations," said Sanderson.

    "It is a week-to-week thing for Manu, but England have total autonomy over when he plays and doesn't play, and if he looks really good and feels good, he will go straight through to England and it could be Italy."

    Sanderson revealed a clash with his former club Leicester Tigers this Sunday came too soon for Tuilagi.

    "He is training and looking good, but we think it is too much of a risk to push him this weekend," Sanderson added.

    "He is an exceptional trainer and a quick healer, so all of his progressions are done on the back of hitting physiological markers and GPS speeds, re-scans and seeing the specialist, and we would never push him earlier."

    England this week suffered a blow when captain Owen Farrell was ruled out of the Six Nations due to an ankle injury.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.