CORDOBA, Argentina — Argentina scored a late try to complete a come-from-behind 23-20 win over France Saturday as the tourists failed to end their 14-year wait for a victory on the Pumas’ soil.
France led 14-13 at the interval before stretching its advantage at the Mario Kempes stadium to 20-13 with two further second half penalties from scrum-half Morgan Parra.
But Argentina, fresh from a 37-22 win over Italy last weekend, hit back with a penalty from skipper Felipe Contepomi before a try three minutes from time from winger Manuel Montero, converted by Contepomi, gave the home side victory.
France, whose last win in Argentina came back in 1998, had led at the interval thanks to a 25th-minute try from No. 8 Louis Picamoles and three penalties from Parra. The Pumas, however, had grabbed the first try of the match after only four minutes when winger Belisario Agulla had scored off an interception.
Contepomi converted before the center also added two penalties.
France manager Philippe Saint-Andre commented: “You have to congratulate the Argentines who never let up over 80 minutes.
“As for us, we have to respect the game. When you concede 13 points in the first half it’s hard to win an international match.
“We’re going to prepare for the second Test but today we lost and bravo to the Argentines.”
He added: “We’re going to try to stop interceptions, that cost us 14 points. At the top level you have to score when the going’s good and not concede when times are tough.
“The Argentines had only a couple of decent periods and on each occasion, due to our mistakes, they scored,” he said, adding: “They are a young side like us but they are more pragmatic.”
Losing captain Pascal Pape echoed his coach’s sentiments, reflecting: “The match was tough, as it always is against the Argentine team, but with a minimum of pragmatism I think we could have won it.”Samoa wins Cup.
Faatiga Lemalu scored two tries Sunday as Samoa defeated defending champion Japan 27-26 to win the Pacific Nations Cup in Tokyo. Hendrik Tui and Ayumi Goromaru ran in tries to help Japan take a 16-0 after 27 minutes. But Samoa came back late in the first half and cut the lead to 16-14 on tries by Kahn Fotuali’i and Lemalu.
Samoa took a 17-16 lead on a Ki Anufe penalty three minutes after the break and the visitors widened the lead to 24-16 when Lemalu ran in his second try and Lolo Lui added the conversion.
Anufe’s second penalty of the day in the 65th minute gave Samoa a 27-16 lead. Japan got two tries from Takashi Kikutani and Toshiaki Hirose but Ryan Nicholas’ conversion drifted wide as Samoa held on for the win and the title.
Samoa improved to 3-0 and won the PNC trophy for the second time, having previously won it in 2010. A win by Japan would have seen the title decided next weekend when Fiji hosts Tonga at Lautoka’s Churchill Park. — Agencies