Saint-Andre warns of 'enormous challenge'
France v ArgentinaFrance coach Philippe Saint-Andre has urged his players to embrace the challenge of defeating two top Test teams on successive weekends.
Seven days after routing Australia 33-6 in an extraordinary match in Paris, they must renew one of rugby’s great rivalries when they host Argentina at Stade Lille Metropole.
Les Bleus have triumphed in only four of the 11 meetings between them, with the identity of the winners changing each time in the last six encounters dating back to 2007.
The Pumas opened their autumn schedule with a 26-12 victory over Wales in Cardiff and Saint-Andre accepts they are in formidable form.
“It’s a key match for us. We know the Argentinians. They’ve perhaps never played this well in November before,” he said.
“We want to see whether we’re able to win two very, very high-level match in succession. It’s an enormous challenge for the staff and the players.
“The Argentines were pretty impressive in Cardiff. They gave the Welsh a rugby lesson in the second half. They scored two textbook tries.
“It’s down to us to play to our strengths, to show the same intensity and speed as we did last week.
“We did a lot of work on our reactivity, our speed, in Tuesday’s training session, and we were more than pleasantly surprised.”
Saint-Andre has made one change to the XV that humbled the Wallabies with lock Yoann Maestri, fit after recovering from a back injury, replacing Jocelino Suta.
Argentina have made three changes – two enforced by injuries to Felipe Contepomi and Juan Martin Hernandez in the win over Wales.
Marcelo Bosch, ever-present during the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship that ended five weeks ago, joins Gonzalo Tiesi in the centre in place of Contepomi, whose knee ligament injury has ruled him out for the rest of the tour.
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino comes in at fullback for Hernandez, who is recovering from leg muscle fatigue but could be fit for the Test against Ireland in Dublin next Saturday.
Horacio Agulla lines up on the right wing in place of Gonzalo Camacho, one of Argentina’s try scorers in the 26-12 win over Wales who is rested but has a place on the bench.
There are no changes in the pack where captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, number eight during the Rugby Championship, remains at blindside flanker where he played his 50th international against Wales.