France have pipped Argentina 23-21 in a thrilling Pool C encounter at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, with Pumas fullback Emiliano Boffelli missing a late penalty which would have sealed victory at the death.
Les Bleus took a healthy first half lead, taking a 20-3 lead into the half-time break through tries to Gael Fickou and Antoine Dupont and the boot of youngster Romain Ntamack, who slotted two conversions and two penalties.
However, Argentina struck back over a 30-minute period in the second half, with Guido Petti and Julian Montoya crashing over in the 43rd and 53rd minutes, respectively.
Successful kicks at goals by Nicolas Sanchez and Benjamin Urdapilleta gave the Argentines a 21-20 lead going into the final 10 minutes, but a drop goal by France’s replacement flyhalf Camille Lopez in the 70th minute edged his side back in front.
Ntamack missed a late penalty to push France out to a five-point lead, and so when Pumas fullback Emiliano Boffelli lined up a 53 metre shot at goal with less than a minute to play, the result of the fixture rode on his boot.
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His kick initially looked good, but it swung away to the left just as it narrowed in on the posts, and after some sturdy defence from the ensuing 22 metre drop out, France were rewarded with a valuable victory that will pay dividends in the race for a place in the quarter-finals.
As for France, they have rocketed to the summit of the Pool C standings, and will face the United States in Fukuoka on October 2.
Argentina 21 (Tries to Guido Petti, Julian Montoya; conversion, penalty to Nicolas Sanchez, 2 penalties to Bejamin Urdapilleta)
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