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Springboks boot World Cup hosts out to secure semi

MATCH REPORT: South Africa has booted France, the hosts of the World Cup, out of the competition by defeating them 29-28 in Saint-Denis on Saturday and secured a place in the semifinal against England next weekend.

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France managed just six points in the second half as a three-point lead turned into a one-point.

The game started at a frenetic pace as the French gave two kicks over the top causing Kurt-Lee Arendse to quickly clean behind the Springboks’ tryline.

And then the big Cyril Baille forced his way over in the corner and South Africa was shell shocked, clearly caught off guard with the physical onslaught and pace of the game.

The kick from the sideline was difficult but Thomas Ramos curled it in.

The score: France 7 South Africa 0 after five minutes of play and a fluent sterling start from the Les Blues.

South Africa responded two minutes later as the speedster Arendse scored after a high kick by Cobus Reinach.

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Libbok stepped up to the plate with his own spectacular kick and the score was equal 7-7, solidifying his selection in the starting XV.

The first penalty of the game went to France after Steven Kitshoff entered from the wrong side. They opted to kick at goal but Ramos could not get enough distance on his kick.

An excellent high kick by Libbok ended in Damian de Allende finding open space after Pieter-Steph du Toit slapped the ball back to South Africa.

Libboks’ conversion was not to be but South Africa managed to take the lead after 20 minutes.

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Kitshoff again transgressed, playing the ball on the ground, resulting in Peato Mauvaka scoring in the corner after a quick-thinking Antoine Dupont shifted the ball quickly.

A turn-over quickly shifted defence into attack after Eben Etzebeth put massive pressure on Dupont, Jesse Kriel put a chip through and the speedster Cheslin Koble got South Africa’s third try of the night.

Libbok landed the perfect penalty goal kick to take South Africa into the lead once again by 19-12.

A French line-out on the South African corner flag after a clever kick from Dupont resulted in Kolbe scarpering to prevent a try, but the big French forwards forced their way over for Les Blues’ third try.

After 30 minutes it was still 19-19.

It had been helter skelter stuff with six tries in 30-odd minutes. Sacre bleu!

Then a yellow card followed as Eben Etzebeth, all of his 2.03 metres, did not duck low enough in a tackle. The bunker review decided that the yellow would remain exactly that.

The penalty kick by Ramos split the uprights and gave France the lead going into the half-time break by 22-9.

A look back at the first half, filled with drama, saw France carry the ball over the gain line 42 times, more than once a minute and South Africa made 80 tackles.

Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard and RG Snyman entered the fray after 45 minutes of play, and then Siya Kolisi also left the field, replaced by Deon Fourie.

South Africa’s defence was tested to the max as the fast paced energy by France continued in the second half leaving the Springboks without any possession.

Their scrambling was outstanding but they played in their own half having to defend for dear life.

Then another Ramos penalty goal sent through the uprights stretched the French lead to 25-19.

A high hoist by Pollard gifted South Africa their attacking opportunity in the second half and Arendse won it.

But it only resulted in another penalty to France as referee Ben O’Keefe pinged Kwagga Smith for holding on.

Yet another mistake by South Africa handed France possession after Pollard opted to kick for touch.

A few good phases by South Africa were made redundant with a knock-on by Willie le Roux.

The difference between the sides, South Africa made to tackle while the French attacked with freedom and abandon.

And then finally a mistake by France, by the captain Dupont no less, when he held on after a kick by De Allende with Kwagga Smith ready to steal.

And then Etzebeth finally drove over with De Allende on his back.

Pollard converted and the Springboks took the lead by 26-25, just before the replacement flyhalf sent through a monster penalty goal of 52 metres through the middle of the uprights, stretching their lead to 29-25.

And then there was only one point in it again as Ramos slotted another successful penalty kick after De Klerk was found to be offside with eight minutes to play.

With two minutes to go, South Africa kept the ball tight with their forwards, winding down the clock, but then De Klerk hoisted it into the Paris sky.

France reacted, running hard again, but the ball just slipped out of a blue hand, and De Klerk booted it into the crowd.

South Africa is in the semifinal against England.

Man of the Match: Bongi Mbonambi – he kept the team calm and guided them after Siya Kolisi left the field. His hard work involved eleven tackles made and 20 metres made.

Scorers:

For France:
Tries: Baille 2, Mauvaka
Cons: Ramos 2
Pens: Ramos 3

For South Africa:
Tries: Arendse, De Allende, Kolbe, Etzebeth
Cons: Libbok 2, Pollard
Pen: Pollard

Yellow card: Eben Etzebeth (South Africa – 40′ high tackle)

Teams:

France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Francois Cros, 21 Sekou Macalou, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Yoram Moefana.

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt–Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

 

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