International Rugby: France vs South Africa Preview

Siya Kolisi in his Test against New Zealand

South Africa head to France in search of their first end-of-year tour victory on Saturday 10 November.  

Date: Saturday, November 10
Venue: Stade de France
Kick-off: 22:05
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Tom Foley (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

To Win (80 mins)
France 27/20
Draw 20/1
South Africa 6/10

South Africa (-3.5) 9/10
France (+3.5) 9/10

South Africa tackle France in their second end of year tour fixture, after they were dramatically beaten by one point in Twickenham. The debate of the week was Owen Farrell's tackle on Andre Esterhuizen that wasn't given as a penalty. Nonetheless, the Springboks had opportunities to close the game out.

Willie Le Roux, Faf de Klerk, and Franco Mostert are the only changes in the team that lost by one point at Twickenham.

Willie Le Roux will replace youngster Damian Willemse, while Faf de Klerk will take over from Ivan van Zyl at scrumhalf. The towering Eben Etzebeth will be out due to injury and will be replaced by Mostert.

South Africa won their last encounter against France 18 - 17 back in 2017 and the last time the French won against the Boks was in 2009.

Captain Guilhem Guirado and his troops have quite a task at their hands, they've only managed two wins from four at this venue against the Springboks. The two 'x-factor' players to watch will be the towering eighth-man Louis Picamoles, and the agile winger, Teddy Thomas.

With the conditions in the North seemingly playing a negative role in the Boks performance, they will need to capitalize on all and every opportunity at their disposal. We won't see a try fest, but rather a wrestling match between the forward packs.

Verdict: South Africa (-3.5) 9/10
With the return of European based players in the SA camp, that experience will come handy this weekend, and should they show remnants of the side that faced the All Blacks. The Boks are tipped to clear the (-3.5) handicap at 9/10.

Stats and facts:

Test caps:
  • The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 444. There are 191 caps in the backline with 253 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 149 caps.
  • The average caps per player in the backline are 27, the forwards are 32 while the players on the bench average 19. The average age of the starting 15 is 26.
Approaching milestones:

  • HandrĂ© Pollard needs one point to reach 300 career points in Test rugby. Should he score 14 points or more in this Test, he will surpass Naas Botha’s career record of 312 points and will move up to fourth position on the all-time point scoring list for South Africa. 
  • The Springboks’ first Test at the Stade de France was the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England on 24 October 1999, which South Africa won by 44-21 in front of approximately 77,000 fans. 
  • Jannie de Beer scored 34 points through two conversions, five penalty goals and a world record of five drop goals.
  • The Springboks played their first Test match against France at the Stade de France two years later, on 10 November 2001. South Africa lost 10-20 in front of 70,000 spectators. 
  • To date, South Africa has played eight Test matches at the Stade de France. The record is: P: 8; W: 6; L: 2; PF: 199; PA: 113; TF: 15; TA: 8; Average score: 25-14; Win%: 75%. 
  • Of the above-mentioned eight Tests, four were against France. The record: P: 4; W: 2; L: 2; PF: 67; PA: 73; TF: 6; TA: 7.
  • The Springboks’ top scorers at the Stade de France are Percy Montgomery (54 points, 9 conversions and 12 penalty goals), JP Pietersen (three tries) and Jannie de Beer (5 drop goals). 
  • The match records are held by Jannie de Beer (34 points, 5 penalty goals and 5 drop goals), JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana (2 tries each).
Overall record against France:
  • South Africa’s overall record against France is: P: 43; W: 26; L: 11; D: 6; PF: 910; PA: 636; TF: 103; TA: 57; Average score: 21-15. Win%: 60%.
  • South Africa’s biggest win against France (42 points) was in 1997 at the Parc des Princes in Paris, when the Springboks ran in seven tries with the final score 52-10. On that day, Pieter Rossouw scored four tries, only the second Springbok to score four tries in a Test match at the time. 
  • The Springboks’ biggest loss against France was on 9 November 2002 in Marseilles when South Africa lost by 10-30.



15 Maxime Medard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Va haamahina, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Gael Fickou

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe

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