Rugby World Cup: South Africa Overcome Hosts, France In Quarterfinals Thriller

Date:

South Africa kept the defense of its title alive with a thrilling quarter-final victory over France in one of the greatest matches in World Cup history. Eben Etzebeth’s powerful late surge saw the Springboks come from behind to end France’s 18-game winning run on home soil and book a semi-final with England in a repeat of the 2019 final.

Before a ball had been kicked, the tournament hosts were tipped by many to go one better than their final defeat in 2011 and cap a golden era of French rugby with that elusive Webb Ellis Cup. That confidence looked well-placed as France began their campaign with an impressive win over perennial World Cup heavyweights, New Zealand on opening night, and topped Pool A with four wins from four.

The only dark moment was a fractured cheekbone to poster-boy Dupont, but the anguish eventually faded as the scrum-half was cleared to play against the Springboks, and 2023 started to feel like it could be the year.

France kicked off with intensity, looking to move the ball quickly through Dupont, and was rewarded in the fourth minute as Cyril Baille crossed in the corner. South Africa pegged France back through Arendse before taking the lead with a Damian De Allende breakaway try.

Peato Mauvaka was a constant threat in the loose and his try restored parity before Ramos’ conversion attempt was brilliantly charged down by Cheslin Kolbe’s inspiring endeavor. Kolbe then turned from points-saver to points-scorer as he latched onto Jesse Kriel’s perfectly-weighted grubber kick to leave Damian Penaud in his wake, and score South Africa’s third try.

In a highly-skilled end-to-end half of Test rugby, Baille doubled his tally from close range as the momentum shifted once again. Ramos added the conversion and a penalty to bring the half to an end with France in the lead.

The second half was somewhat different as neither side wanted to make the crucial error. The pendulum swung from side to side before the Boks prepared for a tap, and got close to the line, which resulted in Etzebeth’s powerful charge over.

South Africa’s three titles make them the joint most successful side in World Cup history, with the All Blacks. Eight of the starting XV began the win over England in the World Cup final in Japan four years ago, and that experience told when it mattered most. South Africa had been training with background noise in preparation for the hostile atmosphere in the French capital, but they wanted to ensure they fired shots of their own.

The ploy to kick high and challenge inexperienced French wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey worked wonders as the hosts failed to gather the ball for Arendse’s opening try. Manie Libbok was selected at fly-half despite his poor form from the kicking tee in the defeat by Ireland in the pool stages. As the under-pressure fly-half lined up to take his first conversion attempt, he calmly slotted the ball through the posts from close to the touchline.

More Springbok possession was kicked towards Bielle-Biarrey’s channel, and this time De Allende was the beneficiary as he scooped up the loose ball to charge towards the line. Kolbe’s try was the best finish in the game as Penaud could only lay a helpless hand on his opposite wing’s buttocks, but despite France regaining the lead, the Boks always looked a threat and eventually turned the tide in their favor through Etzebeth. They will now be strong favorites to overcome England next Saturday and make it to consecutive World Cup finals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share post:

Subscribe

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

STERLING BANK AND AFREXIMBANK LAUNCH INNOVATIVE SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCING SOLUTION

Sterling Bank, in collaboration with the Africa Export-Import Bank...

MONIEPOINT MICROFINANCE BANK INTRODUCES NEW USSD SERVICE

Moniepoint Microfinance Bank, renowned as Nigeria's leading bank for...

FCTA WARNS PROPERTY DEVELOPERS TO VERIFY LAND OWNERSHIP BEFORE PURCHASE

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has issued a...

FIRST BANK LAUNCHES DIGITAL EXPERIENCE CENTRE IN BANANA ISLAND, LAGOS

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has unveiled its new...