France ‘on track’ to Rugby World Cup with win in South Africa


France head coach Fabien Galthie said on Saturday his side “are on the right track” ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup after managing to beat Webb Ellis trophy holders South Africa 30-26 in Marseille.

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Both teams had players sent off with the Springboks’ 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit shown a red card inside the first quarter before last year’s award winner Antoine Dupont suffered the same fate after the break for the home side. page.

Les Bleus, the tournament hosts, have now beaten every top 10 ranked nation since Galthie took over after the 2019 World Cup.

“We had a great experience tonight and we won. We wanted to win by any means,” Galthie told France Televisions.

“The scenario was very unique. We are moving forward. We are on the right track,” he added.

Galthie kept the same starting line-up from last weekend’s win over Australia, the country’s record 11th consecutive win.

“They are a great, great side. They have shown that in 12 games now,” Boks captain Kolisi told reporters.

“They have a strong pack. They are a force to be reckoned with already,” he added.

After the smoke from the pre-match show cleared, Kolisi emerged from the tunnel sprinting in front of the 65,000 crowd, reminiscent of when he became the first black player to lead his country in June 2018.

Thomas Ramos kicked a penalty to make it 3-0 to the hosts before Toit’s moment of madness after just 12 minutes when he headbutted Jonathan Danty in a ruck.

Galthie was forced to reshuffle his backline with Danty off for a head injury assessment as flanker Sekou Macalou came in on the wing and Yoram Moefana moved to centre.

Galthie’s outfit took the upper hand and Ramos added a second penalty to make it 6-0 after 17 minutes before Cyril Baille crashed over just after quarter-time.

Ramos made the extras 13-0 with the Webb Ellis trophy holder stunned.

Winger Cheslin Kolbe slotted home a penalty to make it 13-3 after 25 minutes to settle the away side’s nerves.

Kolisi’s pre-game passion rose to another level after half an hour when he spun away from a rolling maul to slide over, then celebrated by pointing to the sky, before Kolbe kicked the further score to make it 13-10.

With things nicely in the balance and the books calmed down after du Toit’s red card, Ramos hit the ground running with a third penalty to make it 16-10 at the break.

Uncle Falatea

Kolbe and Ramos traded penalties after the break as France led 19-13 with 35 minutes remaining.

Dupont then followed Du Toit as he picked out Kolbe in the air from a Faf de Klerk kick with the Boks encamped inside Les Bleus’ 22 metres.

After a second lineout, Willie le Roux found Kurt-Lee Arendse with a sublime pass before scrum-half de Klerk converted to make it 20-19 with less than half an hour to play.

Dupont’s counterpart De Klerk, after taking over the kicking duties from Kolbe, left for a head injury assessment, and Ramos traded shots on goal to leave the score 23-22 to set up a tense final quarter.

De Klerk was suspended before Damian Willemse made it 26-22 with a penalty.

After three picks on the South Africa line, substitute Sipili buried Falatea over, two phases after his nephew Yoram Moefana had breached the defensive line.

Barnes checked the attempt with his video referee before Ramos missed the conversion to leave the score 27-26 with four minutes remaining.

France’s 12th straight victory was sealed with less than two minutes on the clock when Ramos kicked a penalty from 45 meters to stake their claim to next year’s World Cup.

(AFP)

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