France v Argentina, Montpellier, November 20
Pumas primed for another French exam
November 16, 2010
Argentina fly-half Felipe Contepomi has terrorised French defences in recent seasons © Getty Images
On the face of it, France have an impressive record against Argentina, having won 31 of their 43 meetings with the Pumas, and should be confident of racking up another victory in Montpellier this weekend.
However, New Zealand aside, there is probably no other side in world rugby that the French are more wary of than Argentina. Why? Because the Pumas have won seven of the last nine matches between the two sides.
That sequence of results includes a run of four straight victories between 2002 and 2004. However, of greater satisfaction were the two victories they notched over France, the tournaments hosts, during the 2007 World Cup.
They stunned Les Bleus 17-12 in the opening game in Saint Denis before thoroughly embarrassing them with a 34-10 success in the third/fourth place play-off at the Parc des Princes some six weeks later.
France managed to exact a modicum of revenge by beating the Pumas when next they met, in Marseille the following year. However, they were left red-faced once more earlier this year when they suffered a humiliating 41-13 defeat in Buenos Aires.
Make no mistake about it: France will be gunning for revenge this weekend. However, Argentina have shown little fear of the French in recent encounters and will be quietly confident of claiming yet another 'upset' win, not least because they can call upon the services of Felipe Contepomi, who has scored more points (115) than any other player in this fixture and is now plying his trade in France with Toulon.
France v Argentina All-time record: Played: 43, France won 31, Argentina won 11, drawn 1.
Biggest winning margin: Fra: 35, 47-12 at Ferrocaril Oeste, 1995; Arg: 28, 41-13 at Velez Sarsfield, 2010.
Highest score: Fra: 47 (47-12) at Ferrocaril Oeste, 1995 and (47-26) at Lansdowne Road, 1999; Arg: 41 (41-13) at Velez Sarsfield, 2010.
Most tries: Fra: 9 (37-3) at GEBA, 1960; Arg: 5 (34-10) at Parc des Princes, 2007.
Longest winning sequence: Fra: 12 (1949-77); Arg: 4 (2002-06).
Most points (individual): Fra: Jean-Pierre Romeu 63; Arg: Felipe Contepomi 115.
Most tries (individual): Fra: 6 Serge Blanco and Emile Ntamack; Arg: 5 Felipe Contepomi.
Most points in a Test: Fra: 22 Christophe Lamaison at Lansdowne Road, 1999; Arg: 31 Felipe Contepomi at Velez Sarsfield, 2010.
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