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French fume over scrum refereeing at World Cup

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By Reuters
French fume over scrum refereeing at World Cup
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - France v Argentina - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 21, 2019 Argentina and France players fight after the match REUTERS/Issei Kato   -   Copyright  ISSEI KATO(Reuters)

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s players are fuming over the refereeing during their last-gasp win over Argentina in their Pool C opener at the Rugby World Cup.

‘Les Bleus’ won Saturday’s encounter 23-21 in Tokyo thanks to a Camille Lopez drop goal 10 minutes from time but the French feel Australian referee Angus Gardner failed to sanction their opponents for engaging early in the scrum, which is forbidden under new rules.

“We worked for weeks not to engage early, and on the first three scrums they put pressure on us and the referee didn’t say much,” France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado was quoted as saying by sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday.

“We got screwed,” prop Jefferson Poirot added.

France, however, have vowed to be smarter when they take on the United States in their second game on Oct 2.

“We were too kind. You have to be able to play with the new scrum rules,” said lock Arthur Iturria.

England top the Pool C standings with five points after their bonus win against Tonga, with France in second on four points.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tony Lawrence)