France’s  Camille Lopez celebrates following the victory over Argentina in the World Cup clash in Tokyo.  Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

France 23 Argentina 21 France begin their World Cup quest safe in the eternal knowledge that nothing about them is certain. They possess all the el(...)

Gael Fickou of France is tackled during the Pool C game between France and Argentina in Tokyo. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Argentina 21 France 23 France survived by riding their luck as much as Camille Lopez’s 70th minute drop goal separated these old rivals in a calamito(...)

Ian McKinley has missed out on a place in Italy’s squad for the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ian McKinley has lost out in the numbers game for Italy’s World Cup squad with head coach Conor O’Shea deciding to take just two outhalves among his 3(...)

Brodie Retallick looks to offload during New Zealand’s win over Argentina in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will breathe a huge sigh of relief that his final preparations for the Rugby World Cup got off to a winning start, but h(...)

New Zealand celebrate their win over Argentina at Jose Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Getty Images

Argentina 16 New Zealand 20 New Zealand held on by the skin of their teeth for a 20-16 victory over Argentina in a tense Rugby Championship clash at (...)

 New Zealand after winning the Rugby Championship last year. Photograph: Getty Images

With the Rugby Championship being seen as little more than a World Cup warmup for the southern hemisphere’s top four nations the abridged tournament c(...)

Scotland’s Sean Maitland  score his side’s  try during the autumn international against  Argentina at Murrayfield. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Scotland 14 Argentina 9 Sean Maitland’s try ensured Scotland ended their autumn campaign on a high as they edged out a misfiring Argentina side 14-9 (...)

Ireland’s Dan Leavy in possession  during the clash against Argentina at the Aviva Stadium. Niall Carson/PA

“I’ll get the microscope out and have a decent look,” said Joe Schmidt of what Ireland team tussles with the All Blacks. If, as the evidence increasi(...)

Ireland’s Devin Toner claims a lineout during the  international against Argentina at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

For so long it looked like the scrum was going to dictate the difference but then Argentina scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli ‘box kicked’ on 60 minutes. Exitin(...)

Bundee Aki  scores Ireland’s second  try during the autumn international against Argentina at the Aviva stadium. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ireland 28 Argentina 17 Conditions were perfect and the Pumas brought much of their A game save for their once famed scrum, but on a night when the h(...)

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