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Boks end Stade drought

Sat, 23 Nov 2013 22:14
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South Africa recorded their first ever win at Stade de France, and their first in Paris since 1997, when they beat France 19-10 on Saturday.

In a match that produced just one try each, it was the boots of Morné Steyn (a conversion and three penalties) and Patrick Lambie (one penalty) that proved the difference.

It was the Springboks' 10th win in 12 Tests this year - also the second successive year that they went unbeaten on their year-end tour - to give South Africa a 83.5 percent win ratio for the year.

For the third week in a row the Springboks played a Test match on a paddock - a good place for herbivores but not for international rugby players.

Millennium Stadium, a posh place with a roof but with a poor surface and game is played on the ground, not the roof; Murrayfield which apparently has a grass-eating bug; then on posh Stade de France, which was if anything the worst of the three, requiring scrums to be shifted several times to find somewhere where international rugby players could form a scrum.

France put the ball into 12 scrums. There were 11 collapses, seven resets,  a penalty and a free kick and they lost two of their own put-ins. France - a team proud of its scrummaging.

The match between Italy and Argentina was played on a normal surface. There were 15 scrums, three collapses and no resets, and they are two sides of strong scrummagers.

Because of the surface it's hard to judge the quality of the match.

There was a lot of kicking, especially in the first half when France kicked as much as anybody. The difference between the two sides was that South Africa's kicking was cleverer and South Africa's chasers were much more urgent.

Their first score of the game came from determined chasing.

France had kicked off but they were then penalised, well inside the Springboks' half, and Morné Steyn looked for a long touchfinder towards his right. He did not succeeded because Yoann Huguet knocked the ball infield. He scrambled back to the ball and gave it to Morgan Parra who kicked. But racing JP Pietersen charged the kick down. It went in generous fashion into the in-goal where Pietersen fell on it for a try, which Steyn converted - 7-0 after two minutes.

In the next 78 minutes the Springboks did not score another try.

The French then went through several sidewards phases till Wesley Fofana managed to get ahead. Francois Louw was penalised for not being able to wriggle out of from under bodies heaped on him but, surprisingly Parra missed from in front. His first two kicks of the match were costly.

After 15 minutes Eben Etzebeth, disappointment showing, went off the field with a damaged right ankle. Bakkies Botha came on in his place and was a positive force until replaced by Siya Kolisi just before the end.

France were penalised at a fallen scrum and Steyn goaled - 10-0 after 27 minutes.

The Springboks scrum was certainly on top.

Two minutes before half-time Yannick Forrestier was penalised for going in at the side of the maul and Steyn made it 13-0.

The Springboks looked to be sitting pretty. Their comfortable view of the game did not last for two minutes.

France kicked off and Flip van der Merwe caught it. He was tackled and a ruck ensued. The ball came out at the side, catching Ruan Pienaar unawares. Pascal Papé picked up and gave to Parra who raced down the left and gave a perfect pass to Huguet who got over in the left corner despite the efforts of Pietersen and Steyn to force him out. It took the TMO a long time to decide that it was a try, and then Parra, having missed from in front, goaled from the touchline to make the half-time score 13-7.

Early in the second half the Springboks thought they had scored a try. They were getting quick ball from tackles but Pienaar lobbed a pass above Steyn, who put up a hand. The ball struck his hand and went on. Jean de Villiers snatched the ball up and broke strongly, passing to Jaque Fourie on his right and Fourie was over. The TMO decided the pass was forward, which was a surprise.

Again the Springboks got quick ball at tackles and Willie le Roux pushed a grubber through into in-goal where Huguet dived for the ball. He got a hand to the side of the ball which continued into in-goal where Louw grounded it. A player not holding the ball is required to ground it. Huguet did not, but the TMO suggested that he had, which led to a five-metre scrum which led to a penalty against Pienaar for putting the ball in before the referee's say-so for the second time in the match.

Thierry Dusautoir was penalised for a late tackle and Steyn goaled - 16-7 after 59 minutes.

Thomas Domingo, who had come on for Nicolas Mas at the start of the second half, was penalised and yellowcarded for lifting Habana off the ground and allowing him to fall with his upper body first.

Steyn did not find touch with a penalty and Brice Dulin and then Huguet counterattacked. Huguet chipped but the bounce was unkind when a try looked distinctly possible.

Papé was aggressive to De Villiers when the two lay next to each other at the bottom of a ruck. Louw then pressed down on Papé's face and was yellowcarded  for doing so - the second time in three matches.

Parra goaled the penalty - 16-10 with nine minutes to play.

Lourens Adriaanse replaced Coenie Oosthuizen to earn his first Springbok cap.

With two minutes to play Sébastien Vahaamahina was penalised at tackle and Patrick Lambie, on for Steyn, goaled.

France attacked frantically in the little time left but the score was unchanged.

Man of the Match: Certainly creative, versatile Willie le Roux is a candidate but our choice is Flip van der Merwe, for a massive contribution up front where for the most part the game was played - excellent in the wonky Springbok line-outs, obviously an strong engine in the dominant scrums and making a telling contribution in tackles, rucks and mauls.

Moment of the Match: With just two tries and many penalties there were not much to pick from. We feel the astonishing try by JP Pietersen was a critical moment.

Villain of the match: The two unnecessary yellow cards for Thomas Domingo and Francois Louw.

The scorers:

For France:
Try:
Huget
Con: Parra
Pen: Doussain

For South Africa:
Try:
Pietersen
Con: Steyn
Pens: Steyn 3, Lambie

Yellow cards: Thomas Domingo (France, 69 - foul play, tip tackle), Francois Louw (South Africa, 73 - foul play, hand in the face)

Teams:

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Sofiane Guitoune, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huguet, 10 Rémi Talès, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frédéric Michalak, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts , 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi, 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Pat Lambie.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

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