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Argentina out to deny France a Classic threepeat

Title tilt: Argentina captain Gonzalo Tiesi is determined to stop France clinching a third consecutive World Rugby Classic triumph (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

lassic Pumas captain Gonzalo Tiesi is expecting a hard-fought clash when his side take on defending Champions France in a highly anticipated World Rugby Classic final at the National Sports Centre tonight.

The two teams met in last year’s final, with France narrowly prevailing 21-20 to successfully retain the title.

Speaking after the 25-0 semi-final victory over Lions Legends on Tuesday, Tiesi ruled out seeking any revenge from his side for last year’s defeat in the final.

“It’s not revenge, but it will be a tight game, a tough game,’’ Tiesi said.

“They’re good players, the French. We’ll prepare well and look forward to the final.”

The French, winners of the last two editions of the tournament, are seeking a third consecutive title, but Argentina, who boast of a watertight defence stand in their way.

France made their intentions clear from the start, a 40-0 triumph over the United States Eagles lined them up to face Ireland in the semi-finals.

Philippe Leveau’s side swept aside the Irish 36-10 to secure a spot in the final. An extra day of rest at this crucial stage of the tournament could give them the edge in terms of injury recoveries.

Emmanuel Étien, Mathieu Amoros, Benoît Lazzarotto, Stanislas Durand, Yoan Palisson, Alex Palisson, and Benoît Marfaing have been some of the star performers for the French.

After their win over the US, Durand put emphasis on discipline as the key if they are to make it three in a row, knowing well how the opponents will make it tough.

Argentina subdued Italy without much resistance, a 44-0 win set them up to face a physical Lions side.

The Pumas, who had to adjust their approach against the Lions, but again prevailed, in a 25-0 success to remain the only team yet to concede.

Federico Castilla, Mauro Comuzzi, Martin Nunez, Alenjandro Campos, Federicko Amelong, Tomas Morixe, and Franco Fasano have stood out for the South Americans. Gabriel Astarte’s kicking has also made the difference, with 19 points coming from his boot across two matches.

In the curtain-raiser to the decider, Classic Springboks and Rugby Canada have an opportunity to make amends when the two meet in the Plate final.

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Published November 09, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated November 09, 2023 at 7:16 am)

Argentina out to deny France a Classic threepeat

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