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France, Argentina renew their rugby dance

Pa
Sunday, November 18, 2012

LILLE, France - France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has urged his players to embrace the challenge of defeating two top rugby teams on successive weekends.

Seven days after routing Australia 33-6 in an extraordinary match in Paris, they must renew one of rugby's great rivalries when they host Argentina at Stade Lille Metropole.

Les Bleus have triumphed in only four of the 11 meetings between them, with the identity of the winners changing each time in the past six encounters dating back to 2007.

The Pumas opened their Test schedule with a 26-12 victory over Wales in Cardiff and Saint-Andre accepts they are in formidable form.

"It's a key match for us. We know the Argentinians. They've perhaps never played this well in November before," he said.

"We want to see whether we're able to win two very, very high-level match in succession. It's an enormous challenge for the staff and the players.

"The Argentines were pretty impressive in Cardiff. They gave the Welsh a rugby lesson in the second-half. They scored two textbook tries.

"It's down to us to play to our strengths, to show the same intensity and speed as we did last week.

"We did a lot of work on our reactivity, our speed, in Tuesday's training session, and we were more than pleasantly surprised."

Saint-Andre has made one change to the XV that humbled the Wallabies with lock Yoann Maestri, fit after recovering from a back injury, replacing Jocelino Suta.

Argentina have made three changes with the injured Juan Martin Hernandez replaced by Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.

Biarritz centre Marcelo Bosch comes in for knee ligament damage victim Felipe Contepomi, while Bath wing Horacio Agulla displaces Gonzalo Camacho on the right wing.





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