• French Fried

    French Fried

    Home boy Jaco Kriel took just four minutes to make an impact against the French and his teammates were equally quick in setting the tone for a series whitewash.

    The Boks were good without being spectacular. But against a limp and flat French team good was always going to be worth 20 points.

    The Boks won 35-12 and they won every facet of play, especially at the collisions. Countless times the referee would call ‘maul’ when the French took in the ball and invariably the Boks would win the turnover.

    A month ago I wrote the Boks would win the series 3-0 but I never thought they would be as settled and the French would be so impotent. The combination of the two meant the Boks won the three Tests by 21 points, 22 points and 23 points respectively.

    That is a hammering at Test level.

    The Boks made history in winning against the French for the first time in five attempts at Ellis Park and it was a win that was never in doubt.

    The South African Rugby public had seen enough in Pretoria and Durban to turn out en-masse and in excess of 55 000 turned up at the stadium 22 years (to the day) after the Springboks had won the 1995 World Cup.

    The match obviously could not compare to the 1995 World Cup final in any way but it would have added to the smile among all rugby-loving South Africans.

    The French were very poor but that’s not the only reason they were so comprehensively beaten.

    The Boks were also good throughout the series. The home team did the basics well. The set piece worked efficiently and Elton Jantjies at flyhalf controlled all three Tests. Jantjies was accurate with his goalkicking and his general play was the most consistent it has been for the Springboks.

    This series could finally be the making of Jantjies as a long term Test investment.

    Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel, as a midfield combination, also profited from playing in this series and Ross Cronje, in the first two Tests, made an impression.

    The tight five was always too powerful for the French and whoever made up the loose trio in the respective Tests also prospered.

    The Boks, in attack, were not as good as they’d been in Pretoria but the defensive effort again was effective and dominant.

    The French had 60 percent of the ball but failed to make an impact. There were 21 handling errors from the visitors and so much of that was because of the Springboks’ defensive pressure.

    The Boks did everything they had to in winning the series. They played with enthusiasm and with intent. They played for each other and they scrambled on defence for each other.

    There have been huge advances made in player attitude and in game plan approach.

    Brendan Venter’s influence as defensive coach and technical advisor can’t be overstated and coach Allister Coetzee must get credit for introducing Venter to the coaching structure.

    Coetzee’s selections were also good throughout the series and this was a victory as much for the coaching staff as it was for those players.

    This was a job well done.

    Article written by

    Keo has written about South African and international rugby professionally for the last 25 years