French give weary Boks a drubbing

2009-11-14 00:00

THE weary Springboks, outmuscled, outscrummed and disrupted by change and yellow cards, were well beaten 20-13 by a passionate French side in Toulouse last night.

The Boks led 13-11 at the break but played 20 minutes of the second half with 14 men after first Morné Steyn and then Ryan Kankowski were yellow-carded. They also had to play into a stiff breeze and they were not in the game in the second half as they finally lost to three penalties conceded at the scrum.

It was a richly deserved win by the French and their excellent pack, but the Boks helped to dig their own grave by coughing up an enormous amount of possession at the tackle and they rarely threatened the French line.

The Springboks, playing with the breeze, started nervously and untidily and were forced into a string of errors as the French tore into the rucks and mauls.

The French had promised a physical contest and they delivered as both Springbok locks, Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, left the field for treatment for cuts.

Scrumhalf Julien Dupuy kicked an early penalty for France but Morné Steyn, with an awkward penalty and then a drop in the space of four minutes, took the Boks ahead 6-3 after 24 minutes.

The Boks were 13-3 ahead after 30 minutes when captain and tighthead John Smit received a wayward French throw at the back of a lineout and barged five metres to the line. Steyn again converted well but the Boks undid all the good work in the final 10 minutes of the half.

Number eight Ryan Kankowski was dispossessed after taking a high kick and the French moved the ball quickly into space for right wing Vincent Clerc to score an unconverted try in the corner (13-8).

And then Steyn, out of character and on half-time, stuck out a leg as the Tricolores attacked, and was yellow-carded as Dupuy kicked the penalty (13-11).

The Boks, into the wind in the second half, lost flank Schalk Burger to a rib injury and then conceded two penalties (by Dupuy) — at scrums — and were behind 13-17 going into the final quarter.

The French kept the Boks pinned back in their half with deep kicks and then sealed the win with two minutes remaining when replacement Morgan Parra kicked an easy penalty (20-13).

The Boks were a well beaten team though John Smit, Heinrich Brussow, Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez tried manfully to lift a flagging team which lacked spark and intensity in the most testing conditions and against enthusiastic, fresh opposition.

Scorers:

France – Try by Vincent Clerc and penalties by Julien Dupuy (4) and Morgan Parra.

Springboks – try by John Smit, drop, conversion and penalty by Morné Steyn.

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