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VIDEO: French on notice for bodacious gamesmanship

France is a smart team that use ‘gamesmanship’, rather than barbarity to get the better of the opposition.

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That is the gist of the message delivered by South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus at a media briefing in the build-up to te World Cup quarterfinal between the two teams at Stade de France in Paris on Sunday.

Erasmus, fronting up to the media as the tension started building ahead of the much-anticipated clash between the defending-champion Springboks and hosts Les Bleus, said the French don’t have a ‘reckless approach’ to the game.

They are not on the edge of being too physical or making themselves guilty of cheap shots.

However, they are the past masters of gamesmanship.

“What they do well is when they [the opposition] gets close to the line [of high tackles], they really show that to the referee,” he said of the French players’ animated behaviour.

“They sometimes simulate [present a false appearance], which is clever,” Erasmus added.

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He also spoke about other peculiar incidents that happened during matches on French soil.

(WATCH as South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus puts the French on notice for their often bodacious gamesmanship…)

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“Sometimes when the referee’s comms [communication] goes down and the TV [replay] doesn’t work at that specific time,” he said of experiences teams encounter against Les Bleus.

“They are very clever and good at that.

“They are not a team that lives on the dangerous edge.

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“They don’t play with scrums and mauls.

“They straight up physically man up.

“That is what we respect [about the French] and want to play against them.”

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Asked what the Boks will take away from their 26-30 loss to France in a year-end match in Marseille last November, Erasmus described it as a “fantastic experience”.

“That was before the participation agreement was changed,” he said, adding: “I sat with the reserves.

“When we got the red card of Pieter-Steph Du Toit, it was actually one of the matches that we lost that I felt almost the most proud in the dressing room afterwards – just how players made plans.

“I actually enjoyed the occasion, with all the respect to the French crowd, it was an unbelievable experience.

“You can’t even hear what they sing sometimes or whistle or what they are doing, but you can feel it’s buzzing and they are enjoying it.

“There’s pressure on us and there’s pressure on their own players for expectations, the referee is under pressure with [decisions].

“The crowd are really excited.

“For us to get that red card, I know they also got one a little later.

“To be in that game until the last three or four minutes definitely helped us.

“I hope it helps us with what we are going to get on Sunday.

“We have a lot of players [in the squad now] who were involved then.

“I must say the best thing out of that, out of my whole rugby and coaching career it was one of the most intensive and delightful situations to be in and I’m pretty sure Sunday is going to be the same.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Picture credit: @rugbyworldcup

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