Durban - South
Africa defeated France 37-15 at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday
to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-Test series and continue
their recovery after a horror season.
As it happened: Springboks v France
After conceding an early try, the clinical Springboks built a 23-7
half-time lead, then defended brilliantly before scoring a couple of
A second successive win over France was another step forward for
South Africa following a calamitous 2016 season in which they lost eight
of 12 Tests.
The scoreline was almost identical to the first Test in Pretoria --won 37-14 by South Africa - even though France, with eight changes,
were expected to provide much tougher opposition.
France failed to score when dominant during the third quarter and
this proved their undoing, leaving them with only pride to play for in
Johannesburg next Saturday.
South Africa skipper and No 8 Warren Whiteley said: "They put some
pressure on us in the first 10 minutes but we managed to turn it around,
picked up the intensity and put the pressure back on them.
"The second half was also important for us. We knew the pressure would be on us. I'm really proud of the team.
"It was all character - that's what we've been speaking about the last three or four weeks.
"Just extremely proud of the boys, the support has been phenomenal. We really appreciate it, we want to make our country proud."
France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado said: "We started the match
well and after the South Africans attacked us from every angle, we had a
very bad tackle."
Les Bleus got off to the perfect start with South Africa-born
fullback Scott Spedding scoring a third-minute try in the corner that
scrumhalf Baptiste Serin converted.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies cut the deficit with a sixth-minute penalty
for South Africa, whose flank Oupa Mohoje was forced to retire after
colliding with Louis Picamoles.
South Africa went ahead on 20 minutes as a slick, five-man handling
movement ended with centre Jan Serfontein dotting down and Jantjies
converted for a 10-7 lead.
Flank Siya Kolisi scored a second try for the Springboks by
superbly holding on to the ball off an intercept and darting to the line
with Jantjies converting again.
Another successful penalty kick by Jantjies and it was 20-7 in favour of the hosts in the Indian Ocean port city.
The scrums were a mess that kept New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe
busy and he took loosehead Tendai Mtawarira and tighthead
Rabah Slimani aside to warn them.
Another Jantjies penalty closed the first half scoring and left South Africa 23-7 in front at half-time.
After five successful shots at goal during the opening half, Jantjies
failed with his first attempt of the second half, his long-range kick
dropping just short.
France then camped close to the South Africa tryline for close to 15
minutes, much of the time inside the five-metre line, without scoring
The relentless pressure ended with debutant Damian Penaud believing
he scored in the corner, but the television match official ruled the
centre put a foot in touch before dotting down.
It took 24 minutes for the first points of the second half as French flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc slotted a penalty.
A try to each side followed soon after with replacement prop Coenie
Oosthuizen barging over for South Africa and the impressive Penaud
cutting inside to score at the other end.
Jantjies kicked his conversion, but Trinh-Duc missed, leaving the Springboks 30-15 in front eight minutes from time.
A Jantjies try a minute from time, which he converted, completed the
scoring and gave South Africa a fourth win in seven matches against
France in Durban. The other three were drawn.