South Africadefending champion, gave a lesson in mettle and class this Sunday against the host Francewhich they defeated in their Saint-Denis fiefdom by 28-29 driven by a key try from Just Etzebeth in the 67th minute, and they will face each other in the semifinals against England. It will be on Saturday the 20th at 4 p.m., at the Stade de France, the same stage that the day before will host the other fight for a place in the final on October 28, which will feature The Pumas and the All Blacks.
Despite the support of his fans and the miraculous return of his star, Antoine Dupont, who had fractured his cheekbone less than a month ago, France suffered a historic blow in a tournament that, for many, was predestined to win for the first time, especially after having beaten New Zealand in the opening match.
Los Springboksworld champions in 1995, 2007 and 2019, can enter this edition in the Olympus of rugby if they achieve their fourth crown, a milestone that is also within reach of the All Blacks.
Neither the 10 minutes in which they played in inferiority, precisely because of the yellow card that Eben – a hero in the end – saw, nor the 80,000 throats of the Saint-Denis coliseum nor the class of Dupont and Thomas Ramos made the Springboks and their fearsome backs tremble and front play. The South Africans were better at key moments.
Was a frenetic first half in which both teams exchanged blows mercilessly. South Africa responded to a direct shot from France with a hook. There were five tries in the first 40 minutes: two from Les Bleus and three from the Springboks.
The expeditious and frontal play of the South Africans was bearing fruit until the quality of Thomas Ramos’s footing turned the score around before the break, although by a narrow margin of three points.
With one more player on yellow in Eben Etzebeth, Fabien Galthié’s men had ten minutes to take advantage of that advantage in the early stages of the second period. They did not succeed, although three minutes after Eben’s return, Thomas converted another penalty shot.
France had a six-point lead and seemed happy, until the powerful South African second line broke the French defense and Eben scored a try for the ages. Pollard converted and then took a penalty hit.
The Springboks’ lead was reduced by Thomas. With one point down, the French tried, but the South African shell was impenetrable.
Cheslin Kolbe’s incredible cover of Thomas
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