France and Australia were forced to dig deep to begin their World Cup campaigns with a win as they saw off Argentina and Fiji respectively. Les Bleus took on the Pumas in Tokyo in a vital Pool C clash and it looked at half-time as if Jacques Brunel’s men would stroll to victory after finishing the first half 20-3 ahead, Gael Fickou and Antoine Dupont going over for converted French tries.
However, Argentina came storming back after the interval, forwards Guido Petti and Julian Montoya crashing over for tries to reduce the deficit before Benjamin Urdapilleta’s penalty put them ahead. Camille Lopez’s drop-goal gave France the advantage once more before Emiliano Boffelli pushed his long-range penalty for Argentina just wide in the 79th minute as the French hung on top claim the spoils.
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With England the third tier one side in Pool C, Saturday’s game could prove decisive in the fight to reach the quarter-finals and France captain Guilhem Guirado admitted he was a relieved man at full-time. He said: “I’m very, very proud of my boys and very happy to start the competition with a win.
We never controlled the game in the second half but we are very proud of the first half because we were very clinical. When we play like this we are very dangerous.” Earlier in the day, Australia had to come from behind to see off Fiji 39-21 in Pool D, running in four second-half tries to avoid a World Cup upset.
The Pacific Islanders were 21-12 ahead early in the second period when Waisea Nayacalevu scored under the posts but the Wallabies responded brilliantly, Silatolu Latu going over twice before further tries from Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete. “The coaching staff made good changes and brought on good experience and that helped calm us down,” skipper Matt Hooper said. “They came on with some really good messages and we went back to basics and it paid off.”Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.