Springboks prove too strong for France
November 23, 2013
JP Pietersen was gifted an early try against France
© Getty Images
South Africa failed to fire but they claimed their third win of the autumn internationals series with a 19-10 win over France in Paris.
The Springboks had failed to win their previous four games on French soil but they edged out a lacklustre Les Bleus side on a cut-up Stade de France pitch in a hard-fought match.
JP Pietersen scored with barely 60 seconds on the clock to give the visitors a dream start, with fly-half Morne Steyn kicking three penalties and a conversion before Patrick Lambie took over the duties at the end of the match with a penalty of his own. France also scored a try thanks to wing Yoann Huget, with Morgan Parra's conversion and Jean-Marc Doussain's late penalty not enough for victory.
Pietersen had France rocking at the start of the match when he charged down France scrum-half Parra's kick to score the first try after just a minute, with Steyn converting to give the Springboks the perfect start. Parra had the chance to cut the deficit from the penalty tee 10 minutes later but the Clermont Auvergne star slipped as he was striking the ball and put it wide.
Steyn, however, had no such trouble when he slotted his first penalty of the match to edge South Africa further ahead before soon adding another three points to the visitors' score after France collapsed a driving maul.
However, with the clock approaching half-time, France looked like they had scored through Huget who dived in at the left corner. The television match official took a long time deliberating whether to award the score before advising referee Wayne Barnes the try could stand. Parra stepped up to take the conversion from close to the left touchline and this time made no mistake as he rifled the ball through the centre of the posts to cut South Africa's lead to 13-7 at the break.
South Africa came close to moving further ahead at the start of the second half when Jaque Fourie raced through a hesitant France defence to cross, however the try was chalked off after the TMO ruled there had been a knock-on.
France survived again despite some terrible defence as Francois Louw was beaten to the ball by Huget as the pair slid over the whitewash together.
South Africa were awarded another penalty when France were caught offside, and Steyn did not hesitate to stretch his side's lead to 16-7. Les Bleus were then reduced to 14 men after substitute prop Thomas Domingo was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Boks wing Bryan Habana.
However, the one-man advantage was to be short-lived with South Africa forced to finish the match a man down after Louw was also shown a yellow card after he put his hand in the face of France lock Pascal Pape at the bottom of a ruck.
Doussain kicked the resulting penalty to move the score to 16-10 in South Africa's favour with seven minutes remaining.
South Africa made sure of the win, though, when France were again penalised for offside, with substitute Lambie kicking the penalty.
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