We're not running scared of Argentina, says Huget

France winger says his team are primed to 'honour the jersey' in their opening World Cup 2019 game against Argentina.

FUJIYOSHIDA, 18 Sep – Yoann Huget is urging his France team-mates to get off to a flying start at Rugby World Cup 2019.

Jacques Brunel’s team begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against Argentina at the Tokyo Stadium on Saturday and Huget wants to make smoother earlier progress than in previous World Cup campaigns.

In 2007, Les Bleus lost against the Pumas in their opening match but recovered to see off Ireland and reach the semi-finals and, four years later, they made the final despite pool stage defeats to New Zealand and Tonga.

Defeat against Argentina would leave them with a tricky final pool match against England to advance - providing they can see off Tonga and the USA.

Given that they lost 44-8 against England at Twickenham in this year's Six Nations Championship, it is a scenario they will want to avoid.

“I am not scared of this match,” insisted Huget, whose side beat Argentina 28-13 in Lille in November in their most recent encounter.

 “If we start being scared from the first match, the rest of the competition is going to feel really long. We want to show the work we've done during our preparation, the drive we have for this first game.

 

“It's getting closer for everyone. We were talking about it a few days ago - we have been in the starting blocks since the beginning of July. We are waiting. We have been waiting here for the last 10 days and we are eager to step in, let loose and have fun.”

France can go into their opening game knowing Huget is in his best try-scoring form.

The wing produced four tries in five Six Nations matches and one in the warm-up against Italy and he also weighed in with two tries to help Toulouse seal the Top 14 title with victory against Clermont Auvergne.

“Even if it (the first game) is not going to be crucial, it will be important for the rest of the tournament,” Huget said. “Everybody knows it, everybody has analysed the pool. Anything can happen in this competition, that’s what is beautiful about it, but we are keen on starting well and building our confidence.

“The squad is ready to honour the jersey, fight for the country. It’s a new competition starting after three months of preparation. We want to show that a World Cup is different from the Six Nations or any tours and that this team has talent.”

RNS ji/mj/sw