Saturday, March 23, 2019 | ePaper
South Africa snatch dramatic late victory over France
South Africa beat France 29-26 thanks to a dramatic last-minute try in torrential rain at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Replacement hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi's touchdown after 85 minutes allowed the Springboks to celebrate a win which followed narrow losses to New Zealand and England.
The result also extended South Africa's nine-year unbeaten run against France and restored some confidence for coach Rassie Erasmus with less than a year to go until the start of the World Cup in Japan where his team face world number one side the All Blacks in the group stages.
"We were rewarded for our work. Clearly it wasn't a perfect match but we learnt to manage the pressure," Erasmus said.
France coach Jacques Brunel was left to rue a number of errors.
"We allowed them to keep in touch with us because of little mistakes. We lacked control," he said.
French scrum-half Baptiste Serin scored the first points of the game with a penalty goal and he added a second on 12 minutes.
Fly-half Handre Pollard opened the visitors' account with his own effort on 13 minutes to cross the 300-points barrier in Test rugby.
The Springboks drew level with a quarter of the match played with the outside half's second penalty goal.
Pollard put the visitors into the lead for first time after 28 minutes with an effort from 45 metres.
Camille Lopez pulled the teams level once again with a well-struck drop goal, his first in 16 Tests.
France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado crossed for his team's first try after breaking away from a maul to dive over the Boks' line for the final points of the first half.