Johannesburg - South
Africa ground out a 35-12 victory Saturday to beat France at Ellis Park
in Johannesburg for the first time and complete a 3-0 Test series
As it happened: Springboks v France 3rd Test
Les Bleus, who won the four previous clashes with the Springboks at
the ground, fell behind after six minutes and never looked likely to
snap a losing streak on this tour.
Victory in a match that never scaled great heights continued a South
African revival after a calamitous last season in which they lost eight
of 12 Tests.
Winning the first two matches of the series has reignited public
support for the Springboks with a 55,820 crowd creating an electric
South Africa were skippered by lock Eben Etzebeth for the first time
after the late withdrawal of No.8 Warren Whiteley due to a groin injury.
Flank Jean-Luc du Preez replaced Whiteley with Jaco Kriel coming into the team off the bench.
South Africa won the World Cup for the first time on the same date 22
years ago and one of the team, winger Chester Williams, was introduced
to the crowd before the kick-off.
Elton Jantjies, who had succeeded with 11 of 12 kicks at goal during
the previous two Tests, put the home team ahead with a sixth-minute
Within two minutes that lead had stretched to 10 points as French
wing Virimi Vakatawa was dispossessed and prop Ruan Dreyer sent centre
Jesse Kriel over in the corner.
Jantjies converted, but France trimmed the deficit to four points as recalled flyhalf Jules Plisson slotted two penalties.
It took 27 minutes for the first scrum which had to be reset, in
keeping with a trend of the series, before the work of new cap Dreyer
won South Africa a penalty.
A battle of the boots continued until half-time with Jantjies kicking
two more penalties and Plisson one, on the stroke of half-time, to
leave South Africa 16-9 ahead at the break.
South Africa scored a second try just two minutes into the second
half after inside centre Jan Serfontein won a line-out and Etzebeth
barged over for an unconverted try.
Plisson missed his first penalty attempt of the match after 53
minutes of a stop-start match with too many penalties, most after basic
error by both teams.
The French flyhalf succeeded with another penalty only for South
Africa to go 28-12 ahead just past the hour when hooker Malcolm Marx
drove over and Jantjies converted.
Substitute scrumhalf Rudy Paige rubbed salt into French wounds with a try five minutes from time which Jantjies converted.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Lood de Jager, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds
15 Brice Dulin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Substitutes: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Vincent Rattez