France vs Argentina: France and Argentina will both be aiming to get back to winning ways when they meet at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Saturday.
South Africa scored a try in stoppage time to snatch a dramatic 29-26 win over France last weekend, while Argentina went down 28-17 to Ireland in a patchy encounter in Dublin.
As bogey teams go, Argentina give France an itch like no other, and have done so for more than two decades. In 20 years, under five different coaches, various French sides, featuring stars such as Frederic Michalak, Sebastien Chabal and Thierry Dusautoir, have only managed seven victories over the South Americans.
Two of their most notable meetings came at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
In the opening game, with French fans expecting a positive start to the tournament, Agustin Pichot’s Pumas silenced the 79,000 crowd at Stade de France with a 17-12 win.
Three weeks later, they upset the locals once again to claim third place with a thumping 34-10 victory across Paris at the Parc des Princes.
Twelve years on, the sides will meet again in their opening fixture at the World Cup in Japan.
France coach Jacques Brunel doesn’t think this weekend’s result will have any bearing on what happens next September.
“Whatever the result, it will have very little effect on the World Cup match, even if we think it could have a psychological impact,” he said.
“We’re in completely different circumstances, for me that match will be different to the one on the weekend.”
Saturday’s visitors have a French feel, on and off the field. Three members of the Argentinian coaching staff – Mario Ledesma, Martin Gaitan and Gonzalo Quesada — have all played and coached in France’s Top 14. Quesada coached Stade Francais to the title in 2015.