South Africa vs. France: Score, Reaction for 2017 Summer Internationals

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2017

France's centre Gael Fickou (2R) runs with the ball while South Africa's centres Jesse Kriel (2L) and Raymond Rhule (R) prepare to tackle him during the first rugby Test match between South Africa and France at The Loftus Versfeld Arena in Pretoria on June 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI        (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO LONGARI/Getty Images

South Africa got their three-match home series with France off to an excellent start in Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday, as they comfortably beat the visitors 37-14.

Jesse Kriel and Henry Chavancy went over for each side in the first half before France substitute Baptiste Serin picked up a second try for France in the second.

The hosts finished strongly, though, as Courtnall Skosan and Ross Cronje went over in the space of a minute before Jan Serfontein added a fourth try.

The Springboks started brightly on home soil and were soon 6-0 up thanks to two penalties from Elton Jantjies after Djibril Camara was caught offside and Clement Maynadier collapsed a maul.

Sports journalist Neil Collins remarked on their early dominance as they put France under pressure:

France were eventually able to settle into the contest and responded with an attack of their own, but after surviving a brief onslaught, South Africa grabbed the first try of the game through Kriel.

The 23-year-old was picked out by Malcolm Marx, before charging over with a burst of pace to escape the French defence.

Gerald Imray of the Associated Press hailed Marx's performance:

France hit back almost immediately, though, when they worked the ball out to Yoann Huget on the left, and the winger chipped it over South Africa's line before racing on to it. Despite an unfortunate bounce, he was able to offload it to Chavancy to touch down.

A late penalty for the hosts handed them a 16-7 lead at the break, but France reduced that gap to just two points within quarter of an hour of the restart when Serin powered over, with Jules Plisson adding the extras, as he had before.

The hosts responded magnificently, though, hitting back with two quick-fire tries.

As noted by South African Rugby, the first was a penalty try for Skosan:

Just one minute later, Cronje gave the Springboks even more breathing room when Warren Whiteley won a lineout and picked him out in space with a clever pass, allowing him an easy run over the line.

South Africa rounded out the match with a final try on the counter-attack, breaking through Francois Hougaard and Andries Coetzee before Serfontein wriggled through