Round-up: Saint-André is wary of Argentina's progress

 

Philippe Saint-André, the France coach, is well aware that today's opponents Argentina have greatly benefited from their inclusion in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship, where they were far from embarrassed against South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.

France got their autumn campaign off to a fine start, beating the Wallabies 33-6, while Argentina won 26-12 against Wales. And Saint-André knows the South Americans will want to show that they are worthy of a place in rugby's elite circle. Argentina have won four of their last seven meetings with France, including twice at the 2007 World Cup.

"They are very tough to play against, in all of the rucks. They've also grown in maturity as an attacking team," Saint-André said. "They will cause us different types of problems than Australia did. The Argentines know us well; a lot of them play in the Top 14."

France have made one change to the side that beat Australia, with the lock Yoann Maestri replacing Jocelino Suta after recovering from a back problem.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen admitted it may be disappointing for Italian rugby fans to miss out on seeing New Zealand's marquee pair Richie McCaw and the fly-half Dan Carter today, but he insisted he must put the team's interests first. Kieran Read, the No 8, will deputise as New Zealand captain, with Sam Cane playing in McCaw's openside flanker position. Aaron Cruden will play at No 10. Julian Savea is the only player from the All Blacks' 51-22 win over Scotland last week to keep his place.

It is the first time Italy and New Zealand have met since 2009; the All Blacks have won every one of their past 11 encounters.

Hansen said of McCaw's and Carter's absences: "We are saying to ourselves, 'Here we are going to play this game without two of the greatest players of all time'; that in itself is a great challenge. Will they [Cruden and Cane] perform to the same level? Probably not but you wouldn't expect them to because they aren't in the same stage of their career. What you would expect is the other people around them to do a little bit more and they are capable of that, so we should be fine."

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there