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Hosts France stunned by Argentina

  • Story Highlights
  • Argentina shock France 17-12 in the opening rugby World Cup game in Paris
  • The Pumas score all their points in the first half to stun the home supporters
  • The loss is France's first in the opening round of a World Cup tournament
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PARIS, France -- Argentina pulled off one of the great upsets of rugby World Cup history when they beat hosts and major favorites France 17-12 in the opening match in Paris.

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Argentina players celebrate Ignacio Corleto's try as France were shocked in the World Cup opener.

The Pumas scored all their points in the first-half including an excellent try by Ignacio Corleto to inflict their fifth defeat in their last six meetings over the French.

The loss was also France's first in the opening round of a World Cup.

Felipe Contepomi, playing alongside brother Manuel, landed a penalty to put Argentina ahead in the fourth minute which was levelled a couple of minutes later by David Skrela.

In the 10th minute, the Pumas won another penalty and Contepomi was equal to the task to make it 6-3.

Argentina were dominating and deservedly grabbed a six-point lead when Contepomi landed a third penalty in the 24th minute.

The Pumas got a deserved try in the 27th minute when Remy Martin's misjudged pass was intercepted by the only amateur in the side Horacio Agulla.

Two quick passes released Corleto who left his pursuers behind and touched down in the corner. However, Contepomi's previously peerless boot failed this time with the conversion.

The 14-6 lead was reduced on the half-hour as Skrela converted his second penalty before Contepomi restored the deficit when he kicked a monster penalty to make it 17-6.

Skrela gave France some hope when he landed his third penalty on the stroke of half-time to make it 17-9.

The French came out in more positive mood in the second-half but despite being camped on the Pumas line they failed to score and indeed it was Argentina who got away with a penalty to clear.

Skrela then fluffed a kickable penalty but he made amends on the hour mark to make it 17-9.

French coach Bernard Laporte rang the changes bringing on a trio of scrummagers and replacing veterans Raphael Ibanez, making a record 93rd appearance for a hooker, Fabien Pelous and Martin.

Skrela was soon replaced by Frederic Michalak with 20 minutes remaining but his inconsistency was reflected when he badly missed with a penalty with just 10 minutes remaining.

Laporte said: "When you begin a World Cup and it is imperative to win the match and you lose, you can say only one thing that the sky has fallen in on your head.

"We were not good and it is for us to raise our game. We have to win the three remaining games and then wait and see." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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