June Internationals: South Africa v France Preview (2nd Test)


Our freelance rugby scribe previews the 2nd Test between the Springboks and France being played at Kings Park on Saturday the 17th of June.

After a very good win last week that saw the Springboks break their losing streak, Allister Coetzee’s men will look to wrap-up the series in Durban this weekend. France meanwhile, will welcome the return of a whole host of Clermont and Toulon players into their starting XV, and will pose a much bigger threat to the 'Boks this time around.

South Africa v France | Saturday 17 June | 17:05 | Growthpoint Kings Park

To Win (80 Mins)
South Africa 2/9 | Draw 28/1 | France 3/1
South Africa (-10.5) 9/10 | France (+10.5) 9/10

South Africa
The euphoria surrounding their 37-14 victory in Pretoria would have given way to a new feeling of nervousness within the Bok camp this week. The players know that they are up for a much tougher challenge in the wake of so many returning French players, and their game will need to be even tighter than it was seven-days before. The Bok attack was superb, but the defensive organisation - especially in and around the ruck area (think Baptiste Serin’s try) - could have been a lot better.

Nevertheless, last week was a big step forward for this Bok side, and a lot of their players seemed to come good. Malcolm Marx was irrepressible, while Warren Whiteley and Andries Coetzee also had solid outings. However it was Elton Jantjies who stood out the most for me; the Test was Jantjies’ best ever in a Bok jersey, and his game-management will need to be even better this week when considering the possibility of a Scott Spedding counter from fullback.

The French pushed their hosts close for large parts of the contest, but ultimately let it slip with about 30-minutes left to play. Their attack, while lacking cohesion in some parts, did look dangerous in others, and wingers Yoann Huget and Virimi Vakatawa were certainly responsible for much of that. However their defence looked shaky for much of that encounter, and this is something that will definitely improve with the return of many front-line players this week.

Guy Noves will also look to the likes of returning captain Guilhem Guirado to add some grunt to a forward pack that battled to match the Boks’ physicality and intensity last week (which had much to do with the impact [or lack thereof] of Louis Picamoles at eighthman). This encounter offers France their best bet at winning a Test match, with next week surely being a bridge too far for a side coming off the back of a long and demanding European season, and they won’t let that go to waste. They’ll be much improved at the Shark Tank.

Verdict: South Africa (10.5) 9/10
France will be well up for this one, but the Boks really did look good last week (wow – it’s been a while since I’ve thought that!) With the only change expected to be in the centres (with Jesse Kriel out with concussion), the continuity within this Bok side will see them over the line… also, a similar physical display wouldn’t hurt their chances either.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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