French pride, rudely dented this autumn by those disrespectful All Blacks, nearly went further south at the Stade de France yesterday when Argentina came agonisingly close to inflicting a third successive losing weekend on Les Tricolores.
The Six Nations champions eventually escaped with a 27-26 win over the team they will face on the same pitch in the opening game of the World Cup next September. France, who had lost their previous four encounters with Argentina, ran in three tries, including two by Christophe Dominici, while the boot of Dimitri Yachvili supplied 12 points.
The Pumas, who recorded their first win over England at Twickenham two weeks ago and beat Italy last weekend, scored two second-half tries through Gonzalo Longo and Juan Martin Hernandez. Two penalties apiece by Federico Todeschini and Felipe Contepomi, who also landed two conversions, completed their scoring.
Italy overcame a scrappy start to beat Canada 41-6 yesterday at Fontanafredda, north of Venice. Marco Bortolami, Marko Stanojevic (2), Alessandro Zanni and Martin Castrogiovanni claimed the hosts' tries while David Bortolussi kicked all their remaining points. Ander Monro was on target with two penalties for the Canadians.
England hopeful Olly Barkley contributed 15 points, including a try, as Bath scraped to a tense 20-14 home win over Newcastle in the Guinness Premiership.Reuse content