The Springboks started their 2017 with a great win over the French in Pretoria when they beat them 37-14 scoring four tries in the process on Saturday.
The win was even more special with Springbok coach Coetzee giving five player their first taste of test match rugby. The Springboks were the better side throughout the eighty minutes but it was against a weaken French side.
The first half the Springboks controlled the game and lead 16-7 at the break with one try each in the opening forty minutes for each team. The combination of Cronje and Jantjies worked perfectly and the backline saw more flow and direction in the match.
France had the better of the early exchanges although Jules Plisson missed an early opportunity to give them the lead when he pushed his shot at goal wide of the psots after Franco Mostert collapsed a maul illegally.
The Boks was first to put points on the board with Jantjies punishing France with the boot to give the Boks an early 6-0 lead in the test.
Upfront it was a tight contest with the Boks winning more mini battles than France and played more in their half as well in that first half.
On the half-hour mark, the Boks extended their lead when Andries Coetzee showed a great appreciation of the game’s laws when, after being tackled close to the halfway line, he released the ball on the ground before regathering immediately.
This caught the French defenders napping and he set off on a darting run towards the try-line before offloading to Malcolm Marx and the burly hooker delivered a well-timed pass to Jesse Kriel, who crossed for the opening try.
Shorlty afterwards, France struck back when Coetzee failed to deal with a chip kick from Yoann Huget, behind the Boks’ try-line, and the wing did well to knock the ball backwards to Chavancy who dotted down.
On the stroke of half-time, Fickou infringed at a ruck and Jantjies slotted the penalty to extend the Boks’ lead as the sides changed sides at the interval.
The second half saw both sides continuing to show attacking intent although there were some worried looks on Bok supporters’ faces when Baptiste Serin crossed for his side’s second try in the 54th minute after selling the hosts’ defence a dummy close to their try-line.
Plisson converted, which meant France trailed by two points, but things went pear-shaped for the visitors on the hour-mark when they conceded a penalty try after Brice Dulion tackled Courtnall Skosan as he tried to gather the ball behind les Bleus‘ try-line.
Dulin was also yellow carded for his indiscretion and the Boks would score two tries during his stint off the field.
The first one was straight out of the Lions’ playbook when, from a lineout just outside France’s 22, Whiteley gathered at the back of the set-piece before throwing an inside pass to Cronje, who glided through a gaping hole and dotted down under the posts.
And just before Dulin’s return, Coetzee put in a good run before getting a pass out to Serfontein, who went over in the right-hand corner.
That try sealed the win for the hosts and although France tried gallantly to fight back in the last 10 minutes, they could not breach the Boks’ try-line again.
For South Africa:
Tries: Kriel, Penalty Try, Cronjé, Serfontein
Cons: Jantjies 4
Pens: Jantjies 3
Tries: Chavancy, Serin
Cons: Plisson 2
Yellow Card: Dulin