Cape Town - Rassie Erasmus praised the calmness of the Springboks to stay in the fight right to the end against France at the Stade de France late on Saturday evening despite enormous defensive pressure from the French side.
Bongi Mbonambi crashed over for the winning try in the 85th minute to clinch a thrilling 29-26 comeback win for the Springboks in Paris. France led 16-9 at halftime and managed to increase their led to 23-9 at one stage, before the Springboks started with their successful fightback in front of a lively Parisian crowd.
“Last week we took it through 15 phases to get a penalty to win the game (and it didn’t happen) and this week we had to score a try to win the match,” said Erasmus, who mentioned that his side learnt a lot from last weekend’s mistakes at Twickenham where England edged South Africa by a single point.
“It was definitely not the most clinical performance but the team was gusty enough and it feels much better (than last week).”
France were the better side in the first half and they managed to stretch their half-time advantage to a threatening 23-9 lead after the break.
“We’ve done it a few times this year where we were behind quite early in the match, but this scoreline happened just before and after halftime and that made it tough,” admitted Erasmus. “There were a few big moments (for us) and I thought our guys handled those and the pressure very well.”
The South African confidence increased as the second half progressed, and they were rewarded for their efforts by virtue of two converted tries, scored by Sibusiso Nkosi and replacement hooker Mbonambi, while Handre Pollard slotted five penalties for a faultless kicking display.
The Springboks now fly back to the United Kingdom where they face Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:00 (SA time).