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Rassie praises Bok calmness in Paris thriller

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Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi was also full of praise for the Springboks’ fighting spirit, which saw them grinding out a morale-boosting win.

Bongi Mbonambi screams in delight after scoring the winning try for the Springboks against France on Saturday night. Photo: Yoan Valat/EPA

Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, praised the calmness of the Springboks to stay in the fight right to the end against France at the Stade de France late on Saturday evening despite enormous defensive pressure from the French side.

“Last week we took it through 15 phases to get a penalty to win the game (and it didn’t happen) and this week we had to score a try to win the match,” said Erasmus, who mentioned that his side learnt a lot from last weekend’s mistakes at Twickenham where England edged South Africa by a single point.

“It was definitely not the most clinical performance but the team was gusty enough and it feels much better (than last week).” France were the better side in the first half and they managed to stretch their half-time advantage to a threatening 23-9 lead after the break.

Made it tough

“We’ve done it a few times this year where we were behind quite early in the match, but this scoreline happened just before and after half-time and that made it tough,” admitted Erasmus.

“There were a few big moments (for us) and I thought our guys handled those and the pressure very well.”

The South African confidence increased as the second half progressed, and they were rewarded for their efforts by virtue of two converted tries, scored by Sibusiso Nkosi and replacement hooker Mbonambi, while Handré Pollard slotted five penalties for a faultless kicking display.

Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi was also full of praise for the Springboks’ fighting spirit, which saw them grinding out a morale-boosting win.

“We kept on fighting and it was special to see the energy of the guys at the end. “We thought Cheslin had scored and Aphiwe’s try was ruled out (because of a forward pass) but we pressed on and I’m glad we were rewarded today,” said Kolisi.

ANA