Rugby Union: Rossouw leaves mark at Parc

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France 10

South Africa 52

The victors paraded triumphantly around Parc des Princes to a standing ovation and their captain gave thanks to the cheering crowd over the PA system for their support. Sadly for France - miserably, in fact, for they were so poor - the victors were the Springboks; the captain, the imperious Gary Teichmann.

What a way to bid adieu to the Parc after 24 years of international rugby. Next year the French will play in the Stade de France in St Denis, which will be the main venue for the football World Cup in the summer.

France's spirited comeback to hold these rejuvenated Springboks to a four-point win in the first Test in Lyon last week had raised hopes of a series-levelling victory. Instead they were submerged beneath a green- and-gold tidal wave, the crest of which was ridden by 6ft 4in Western Province winger Peter Rossouw, who became the first man to score four tries in an international on this ground.

No doubt another spell of wretched introspection beckons for the France coaches Jean-Claude Skrela and Pierre Villepreux. Their English counterpart Clive Woodward will be seeking the odd concerned glance at the match video too.

South Africa's Oxford-educated Nick Mallett has pulled the Springboks up by their ears after their travails at home in the Lions and Tri-nations series. They tore into France, who were guilty of two pieces of casual play by Fabien Galthie and Christophe Lamaison straight from the kick- off, and fashioned a try for centre Andre Snyman after just 45 seconds.

Henry Honiball converted that and, apart from one missed penalty in the 28th minute, everything else which came his way. It was a stunning reversal from the dreadful goalkicking which contributed so much to the South Africans' defeat by the Lions.

"Our players did an outstanding job," Mallett said. "It is a bit bewildering to produce a performance like this so early in my coaching career, but I believe that matched anything the All Blacks could have produced."

Rossouw got the first of his tries when Rassie Erasmus, part of a rampant South African back row, easily anticipated a suicidal inside pass by French hooker Marc Dalmaso. Erasmus kept the chasing Thierry Lacroix at bay for 50 metres before delivering the scoring pass to Rossouw. Dalmaso had treatment to a head wound immediately after, in addition to suffering a very red face.

Teichmann and Rossouw crossed for further South African tries and when France trailed 28-3 at half-time they were booed off the pitch and, indeed, back on to it. Rossouw sprang the French defence again with a surging run down the left in the third minute of the second half and spun out of a forlorn tackle by Abdel Benazzi to complete his four-timer before an hour of play had elapsed.

It only remained for Honiball's penalty and conversion of his own injury- time try, which provided a fitting finale with which to close the curtain on the old stadium. The ball flowed nearly the entire length of the field and between 10 pairs of Springbok hands before ending up with the scorer - who himself handled the ball three times in the final 20 metres. It gave South Africa both a record points total and a record-equalling margin of victory over the French.

France: J L Sadourny; D Venditti (L Leflamand, 47), C Lamaison, S Glas, P Saint-Andre (capt) (D Casadei, 75); T Lacroix, F Galthie (J Cazalbou, 69); C Califano, M Dalmaso, F Tournaire, O Merle, O Brouzet, P Benetton, L Cabannes (F Pelous, 40), A Benazzi.

South Africa: P Montgomery; J Small, A Smyman, D Muir, P Rossouw (J de Beer, 79); H Honiball, W Swanepoel; O Du Randt, J Dalton, A Garvey, K Otto, M Andrews, J Erasmus (A Aitken, 48), A Venter, G Teichmann (capt).

Referee: P O'Brien (New Zealand).

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