Parra kicks stuttering France past Argentina
Morgan Parra kicked four penalties as France beat Argentina 15-9 in an error-strewn international match in Montpellier on Saturday.
Flyhalf Damien Traile added a drop goal in a stuttering performance by the Six Nations grand slam champions a week after a convincing victory against Fiji.
Felipe Contepomi kicked all the points for Argentina who were dominated by the home side throughout the match, although they did threaten an upset in the closing stages.
The hosts, who face Australia at the Stade de France next Saturday, fought hard to clinch only their third win from 10 games against Argentina just five months after being thrashed 41-13 in Buenos Aires.
France defended well and proved more aggressive, with a convincing performance by Sebastien Chabal who played as number eight for the first time since 2007.
However, coach Marc Lievremont was repeatedly left frustrated as his players gave up the ball too many times.
A Parra penalty put France ahead after 11 minutes but Contepomi soon levelled before a mistake by the Argentine flyhalf cost his side another penalty converted by Parra.
The Clermont number nine made it three successful penalties as the French pack proved much more aggressive than their opponents, putting the Argentine five on the back foot.
The visitors were finding it hard to move away from their own try-line as France kept up the pressure but they stayed in the contest with another Contepomi penalty after halftime.
However, Damien Traille added three points with a fine drop goal from 30 metres after an Aurelien Rougerie charge down the right wing put the hosts in a good position in Argentina's half.
Outside centre Rougerie was again a threat down the flank although he stepped out of bounds in yet another failed attempt by the French though Parra continued to reward their efforts.
Contepomi again cancelled out a Parra score and Argentina then came close to a try when Gonzalo Camacho sped down the right only for the winger to be pushed into touch.
Argentina threw everything at France in the last few minutes as they enjoyed more possession but the home side held on.