Springboks break Ellis Park jinx against France

Les Bleus, who won the four previous clashes against the South Africans at the ground, fell behind after six minutes and never looked likely to snap a losing streak on this tour.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

South Africa flanker Siya Kolisi hits in the face South Africa center Jesse Kriel as they try to tackle France fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc during the third rugby union Test match between South Africa and France at the Ellis park Stadium in Johannesburg.

South Africa ground out a 35-12 victory Saturday to beat France at Ellis Park in Johannesburg for the first time and complete a 3-0 Test series whitewash.

Les Bleus, who won the four previous clashes with the Springboks at the ground, fell behind after six minutes and never looked likely to snap a losing streak on this tour.

Victory in a match that never scaled great heights continued a South African revival after a calamitous last season in which they lost eight of 12 Tests.

Winning the first two matches of the series has reignited public support for the Springboks with a 55,820 crowd creating an electric atmosphere.

South Africa were skippered by lock Eben Etzebeth for the first time after the late withdrawal of No.8 Warren Whiteley due to a groin injury.

Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez replaced Whiteley with Jaco Kriel coming into the team off the bench. 

Unbelievable

Etzebeth said: "What an unbelievable day it was for me and the whole team. This whole three weeks was unbelievable. 

"The crowd that was here tonight, all the support back home. We just want to thank everyone for this massive day and this great three weeks. (The buildup) was not tough at all. I think if you put on a Springbok jersey, you want to win every game. That is exactly what we wanted to do tonight. We are really happy and so excited for the squad and looking forward to the Rugby Championship."

France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado said: "Tonight, three games, three Tests, three times (almost) the same score -- very bad for the French team. But now we know what we have got to do. The Springboks played very well, putting a lot of pressure and they are a good team. (Having a young team) is not an excuse. Young team, young players, but when you play you can win every time. We must build and hope to play well in future."

South Africa won the World Cup for the first time on the same date 22 years ago and one of the team, winger Chester Williams, was introduced to the crowd before the kick-off.

Sixth-minute penalty

Fly-half Elton Jantjies, who had succeeded with 11 of 12 kicks at goal during the previous two Tests, put the home team ahead with a sixth-minute penalty.

Within two minutes that lead had stretched to 10 ponts as French winger Virimi Vakatawa was dispossessed and prop Ruan Dreyer sent centre Jesse Kriel over in the corner.


South Africa's centre Jesse Kriel (L) scores a try during the third rugby union Test match between South Africa and France. Picture: AFP

Jantjies converted, but France trimmed the deficit to four points as recalled fly-half Jules Plisson slotted two penalties. 

It took 27 minutes for the first scrum which had to be reset, in keeping with a trend of the series, before the work of new cap Dreyer won South Africa a penalty.

A battle of the boots continued until half-time with Jantjies kicking two more penalties and Plisson one, on the stroke of half-time, to leave South Africa 16-9 ahead at the break.

Barged over

South Africa scored a second try just two minutes into the second half after inside centre Jan Serfontein won a line-out and Etzebeth barged over for an unconverted try.

Plisson missed his first penalty attempt of the match after 53 minutes of a stop-start match with too many penalties, most after basic error by both teams. 

The French fly-half succeeded with another penalty only for South Africa to go 28-12 ahead just past the hour when hooker Malcolm Marx drove over and Jantjies converted.

Substitute scrum-half Rudy Paige rubbed salt into French wounds with a try five minutes from time which Jantjies converted.

Source: 
AFP