Sunday, June 13, 2010
It was touted to be the clash of the hemispheres as the Tri Nations holders went up against the Grand Slam winners, but ultimately France couldnt cope with the Springboks as they went down 42-17 at Newlands in Cape Town.
Newcomers Gio Aplon and Francois Louw both impressed in their second Test appearances, with Aplon scoring two top quality tries and Louw diving over for one himself, right in front of the stand named after his grandfather.
The Boks got off to a commanding start in only the second minute of the game as Pierre Spies sprinted away following a typically determined break from Bryan Habana, and then a great offload from centre Jaques Fourie.
It was only a few minutes later that pint-sized Aplon scored his first, busting through one tackle then stepping another. At 20-0 up, France finally got on the scoresheet with an excellently taken try to Aurilien Rougerie, but you felt the game was all but over when Gurthro Steenkamp dived over with ten minutes still left in the half.
France built a bit of pressure and kicked a penalty, but a ball went loose on one of their best attacking movements, and Aplon swooped to pick up and sprint away for a 90 metre try, showing the type of finishing hes displayed many times on the Sevens circuit.
The visitors were anything but the powerful unit that we saw in November and in the Six Nations. They looked jaded at times and couldnt cope with the pace right from the start. Fatigue was no doubt a factor, but it was their first big Test of this part of the season so theyll need to pick themselves up and bounce back strong to get over this one.
"This was one of the teams we felt we hadn't played well against and this was our last chance to put some kind of a Springbok stamp onto them, so it was a big part of our mental preparation and the result had to go our way," said Bok captain John Smit.
"They brought a good team and we put out a good team. It was always going to be a very hyped-up game between the Tri-Nations champions and the Six Nations champions," he added.