Novès: Boks were 'too physical and athletic'
REACTION: The Springboks have a reputation as 'bruisers', but it is their athleticism that mostly caught the French offside.
Speaking after his team's 14-37 loss to South African in Pretoria at the weekend, France coach Guy Novès said his team was outclassed by a superior Bok team.
"We were dominated physically - individually and collectively," Novès told a media briefing at Loftus Versfeld.
"We didn't take [into] account the athletic quality of their players and it made it difficult for us to play our game."
Novès downplayed the absence of several key players - with members of Top 14 finalists Clermont and Toulon not considered, as they only arrived in midweek, after the Final on the Sunday, June 4, before this past Saturday's match.
"I don't want to talk about players that weren't here but rather the players that were here," he said.
However, it is obvious France will be stronger in the second Test at Kings Park, Durban, this coming Saturday.
He also dismissed the influence of a penalty try and yellow card handed out to fullback Brice Dulin in 59th minute - with SA leading just 16-14.
"There is not much to say," he said, when quizzed about a decision that saw his team leak 21 points before Dulin returned from his stint in the sin bin.
"The referee was logical in his explanation.
"We were punished at least two more times," he said of tries by Bok scrumhalf Ross Cronje a minute after the penalty try and Jan Serfontein a minute before Dulin returned n the 69th minute.
He made reference to a 'third punishment', but offered no explanation as to this punishment - as there was no further scoring in the final 10 minutes of the game.
He said France "played a lot less rugby" than they wanted to, because they missed so many tackles - 21 of their 97 attempts, a tackle success rate of just 78 percent.
He just grinned when asked if there were any positive aspects to the game, vowing to study the match along with his staff to try to understand the defeat and improve before the second Test.
By Jan de Koning - at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria