Rugby Union: Springboks will try to match French for flamboyance

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The Independent Online
South Africa plan to run the ball at every opportunity in an attempt to beat France at their own game in today's first Test in Lyon.

Even the South African tight five have been given instructions to attack as the World Cup holders take on the flamboyant Five Nations champions led by Gloucester's veteran wing, Philippe Saint-Andre.

"It'll be a quick-paced game and you'll see our forwards running with the ball whenever the opportunity presents itself," Gary Teichmann, the Springboks captain, said. "Our tight five showed against Italy last week that they can run with the ball - and cause havoc."

The Springboks, building a new-look team as they prepare for their World Cup defence in 1999, are expecting a tight match against a French team who won all three of their matches against Italy, Romania and Argentina last month.

The versatile Percy Montgomery has been called up to replace the injured South African full-back Justin Swart and the French may look to exploit Montgomery's suspect tackling.

Montgomery, who has scored five tries in six international appearances, expects to be put under early pressure. "The French are sure to try and test me. I'm expecting a load of up-and-unders - they'd be crazy not to," he said.

Bath yesterday began the search for a new sponsor after Allied Domecq withdrew their backing. The four-year package was in excess of pounds 1m, but the company has decided to concentrate its marketing activities on other areas from the start of next season.

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