The Springboks built on their on their strong performance the previous week in Pretoria by claiming a series win over France with a convincing 37-15 win at Kings Park on Saturday night.
Also read: Springboks vs France – As it happened
While the French were much more agile in the collisions, the Boks managed to hold their composure and absorbed pressure superbly.
Their defence was outstanding and it was noticeable how the Springboks made a point of everyone upping their work rate.
It worked a treat.
Who was the star of this match?
There isn’t any doubt that the award should go to flanker Siya Kolisi, who was probably very close the previous week at Loftus.
He seems to be thriving as the Stormers captain and is now a leader in this team too.
He played a massive in the build-up to the first try after spotting Jan Serfontein was in space, while scoring the second when the French dropped a loose pass inside their own 22.
Kolisi also made the run to set up the final try by Jantjies and was a giant on defence.
- The Boks were shocked when French fullback Scott Spedding scored after four minutes despite the best of defensive attempts by lock Eben Etzebeth to see the visitors go up 7-0. But they were granted a reprieve when the French conceded a penalty almost immediately afterwards.
- That momentum led to two Bok tries in the 22nd minute by Serfontein and in the 27th by Kolisi ensured the Boks went into a halftime lead of 23-7. It pointed to an improving ability to capitalise on attacking opportunities without much possession.
- Apart from his general play – even though he was at times rattled by the rush defence of the French – flyhalf Elton Jantjies was superb building on his faultless kicking record at Loftus the previous weekend. The great thing about his form off the tee is that he’s complementing the hard work done by the forwards, who defend superbly and forced at least five penalties in the tackle situation.
- Scrumhalf Ross Cronje’s try-saving tackle on French No 13 Damian Penaud, when he bumped him out of touch, and wing Raymond Rhule’s chase of Fijian giant Vakatawa epitomised the Springboks’ improving defensive system.
- For the second week in succession, the bench made a discernible difference. Coenie Oosthuizen scored a barnstorming try, Jean-Luc du Preez – who replaced the concussed Oupa Mohoje early – was a nuisance at the breakdown and Pieter-Steph du Toit poached a line-out and tackled well.
Springboks – Tries: Jan Serfontein, Siya Kolisi, Coenie Oosthuizen, Elton Jantjies. Conversions: Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (3).
France – Tries: Scott Spedding, Damian Penaud. Conversions: Baptiste Serin. Penalty: Francois Trinh-Duc.