France advance courtesy of Bloem's lip service

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The Independent Online

France made certain of a quarter-final place in the Lincoln Financial Group World Cup with a convincing 56-6 win against a 12-man South Africa in Albi.

France made certain of a quarter-final place in the Lincoln Financial Group World Cup with a convincing 56-6 win against a 12-man South Africa in Albi.

However, they must await the result of tonight's final Group Three match between Papa New Guinea and Tonga in Perpignan before they are sure of their opponents: either New Zealand or Wales.

On this form France will be a match for anyone, although the Rhinos' captain' Jamie Bloem of Halifax made their job much easier when he was sent off after 31 minutes. Bloem was originally sin-binned for interference at the play the ball but on his way to the sidelines he said something out of turn and the Australian referee Steve Clark had no hesitation in producing the red card.

France's captain Fabien Devecchi felt his side's performance was one more large piece in the nation's rugby league jigsaw. "This was a big day for rugby in France, especially after the poor way we started the competition," he said.

"We were so disappointed to lose to Papua New Guinea in Paris but we had the mental toughness to bounce back against Tonga in Carcassonne. We continued against South Africa in the same way."

Devecchi would prefer to meet Wales in the quarter-finals: "I respect both teams but New Zealand are so full of good players who play in the Australian NRL. They are very good in every position and have some of the best players in the world like Henry and Robbie Paul.

"But Wales are a good team too, especially in the way they play around players like Iestyn Harris, Lee Briers and Keiron Cunningham."

South Africa's coach Paul Matete saw positives in his side's performances throughout the competition, even if they did finish with a whimper rather than a bang.

"This has been a positive thing for us and we learnt a lot," he said. "One of the major things is that we have got to become professional as soon as possible. We need to get more of our players going overseas. Things like quotas don't help South Africa.

"We should leave the developing countries out of the player quota system. That way we will come to these tournaments and perform better.

"As for today, Jamie Bloem's sending off didn't help us. But the major thing was our lack of fitness with three games in so short a period."

FRANCE: Banquet (Villeneuve), Garcia (UTC), Cassin (Toulouse), Dulac (St Gaudens), Sirvent (St Gaudens), Devechi (Avignon), Rinaldi (Vileneuve), Hechiche (Lyon Villeurbanne), Wulf (Villeneuve), Teixido (Limoux), Guisset (UTC), Tallec (Halifax), Jampy (UTC). Substitutes: Despin (Villeneuvre), Carrasco (Villeneuvre), Sort (Carpentras), Sands (Linoux).

SOUTH AFRICA: Best (Centurion Lions), Noble (Northwest Leopards), Barnard (Centurion Lions), Johnson (Salford), Dames (Police), Van Wyke (Centurion Lions), Bloem (Halifax), Booysen (Falcons), Jennings (Blue Bulls), Powell (RAU), De Villiers (Pretoria Tech), Rutgerson (Canberra), Erasmus (Centurion). Substitutes: Hurter (Pretoria Bulls), Webb (Blue Bulls), Mulder (Centurion Lions), Louw (St Helens).

Referee: S Clark (Australia).

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