The France captain saw red – so did Pieter-Steph du Toit. But wow. What a Test match
Watch: Antoine Dupont red card against Springboks
There’s something about this France team under Fabien Galthie. In the last 12 months, this French side have beaten every other side in the world’s top ten and won 12 in a row. Despite giving themselves a howler to deal with, France beat the Springboks 30-26 in Marseille. That howler? A nailed-on red card for captain Antoine Dupont.
There’s no defending that, and the scrum-half knew – hopefully, Cheslin Kolbe was okay after the incident.
It wasn’t the only red card incident in the match. Early in the first half Pieter-Steph du Toit was sent off permanently too.
But this was never a foregone conclusion of a Test match. Fractured. Physical. Fraught. Tetchy at times. Controversial, definitely. A source of huge talking points. French TMOs? Double movements? There was barely enough room for a kitchen sink in this match.
After the du Toit red, Cyril Baille got the first try of the match.
But Siya Kolisi punched back (in a pleasingly unexpected way), and the Springboks refused to lie down.
South Africa upped the intensity, hammering into contact on both sides of the ball. The crowd responded too, screaming themselves hoarse. And Kolbe was bumping around and nailing kicks too.
After 47 minutes Dupont was sent packing. Kurt-Lee Arendse scored, squeezing into the corner from a rapid Willie le Roux cut-out pass, and the game just could not be put away. The conversion made it 20-19 in South African favour. Two more SA penalties, one for France, and a yellow for Deon Fourie.
By the time Sipili Falatea scored (and was there a double movement?) the game had spun out of the realm of predictability. What would happen next.
At 27-26, France were just a point ahead. Thomas Ramos kicked one more penalty to make it look a little more comfortable, but this game was anything but safe, predictable or chill. It was the bewildering best and worst of this game.
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