- Title: France, Argentina prepare for World Cup opener at Tokyo Stadium
- Date: 19th September 2019
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) FRENCH TEAM, LED BY CAPTAIN GUILHEM GUIRADO, WALKING ONTO FIELD AT TOKYO STADIUM FRENCH TEAM WALKING ONTO FIELD VARIOUS OF FRANCE HEAD COACH JACQUES BRUNEL SPEAKING TO OTHER COACHES PLAYERS RUNNING AROUND FIELD BRUNEL / PLAYERS RUNNING IN BACKGROUND PLAYERS STARTING TRAINING PROP RABAH SLIMANI STRETCHING PLAYERS TRAINING WINGER YOANN HUGET WALKING FLANKER YACOUBA CAMARA GOING TO GROUND / PLAYERS TRAINING PLAYERS TRAINING SCRUMHALF MAXIME MACHENAUD TRAINING PLAYERS TRAINING SCRUMHALF ANTOINE DUPONT TRAINING GUIRADO AND SLIMANI WALKING PLAYERS LISTENING TO COACH LOCK SEBASTIEN VAHAAMAHINA WALKING PLAYERS TRAINING FLYHALF ROMAIN NTAMACK LOOKING ON VARIOUS OF GUIRADO JOGGING / DRINKING WATER RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019 FLAG ARGENTINA PLAYERS PREPARING FOR TRAINING HEAD COACH MARIO LEDESMA LOOKING ON FLYHALF NICOLAS SANCHEZ PICKING UP BALLS SANCHEZ WALKING PLAYERS TRAINING WINGER RAMIRO MOYANO TRAINING PLAYERS TRAINING SANCHEZ KICKING PRACTICE CONVERSION FORWARDS PRACTICING LINEOUT LEDESMA WATCHING LINEOUT ARGENTINA CAPTAIN PABLO MATERA DURING TRAINING VARIOUS OF PLAYERS PRACTICING CATCHING HIGH KICKS SCRUMHALF FELIPE EZCURRA MAKING TACKLE PLAYERS TRAINING SANCHEZ KICKING CONVERSION THROUGH POSTS
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2019 10:02
- Keywords: Rugby World Cup France Argentina Japan Jacques Brunel
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: France
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001AXBOI0V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: France and Argentina got their first feel for Tokyo Stadium, the venue for their Rugby World Cup opener, on Thursday (September 19).
With a tough draw and consistently patchy form, three-time runners-up France face the prospect of being under early pressure in the tournament if they lose on Saturday.
In the only pool containing three teams that have made the semi-finals, the loser of the blockbuster will more than likely have to beat highly-rated England to drag themselves back into contention for the knockout stages.
While both sides have reached the last four in two of the last three World Cups, they come to Japan very much as works in progress.
Having parachuted head coach Jacques Brunel's named successor Fabien Galthie onto the coaching ticket and placed their trust in the young Toulouse halfback partnership of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, France appear to have half an eye on 2023 when they host the World Cup.
It would all point to Argentina smelling blood from the Six Nations also-rans were it not for the Pumas' own struggles.
Mario Ledesma's men arrived in Tokyo a lowly 11th in world rankings following nine consecutive test defeats, albeit mostly against the three giants of the Rugby Championship, and they did beat Australia and South Africa just before that run.
They have demonstrated an edge over France, however, having won 10 of their 16 meetings since the turn of the century and will have French club rugby veteran Nicolas Sanchez pulling the strings at flyhalf.
Saturday's clash will be pivotal, no matter how much the participants protest.
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