Rugby Union: Viars jars Boks

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Sebastien Viars' place kicking tilted the balance as the French Barbarians beat South Africa for the second successive time when the Springboks open-ed their tour of France with a 30-22 defeat in Brive yesterday.

The 25-year-old full-back landed three conversions and three penalties as the South Aficans suffered their first defeat of a three-country sojourn that began in Argentina earlier this month.

South Africa, who meet France in Bordeaux on Saturday, scored four tries but Franco Smith kicked just one conversion. The Barbarians, who won the last match of the Springboks' previous French tour in 1992, ran in three tries, the first by Marc Dal Maso in the opening minute.

Theo Oosthuizen scored two of the visitors' tries and there was one each for Johan Erasmus and Russell Bennett. The other touchdowns for the Barbarians, for whom New Zealand flanker Josh Kronfeld and Saracens' centre Philippe Sella played key roles, came from David Venditti and Laurent Mazas.

South Africa also lost yesterday in the final of the World Cup Sevens qualifying tournament in Dubai, 33-12 to Fiji. Earlier, they had won 34- 14 against Wales who in turn beat Scotland 42-21 in the quarter-finals. At the finals in Hong Kong next March, Wales will face New Zealand and the fourth-placed team from the third qualifying event in Uruguay on 4 and 5 January.

South Africa A recorded their fifth tour win, 43-17 over London Counties at Twickenham, despite having loose-head prop Robert Kempson sent off for punching Sale lock John Fowler.

Former Wales flanker Richie Collins and wing Geraint Lewis grabbed two tries apiece in a 47-0 victory away to bottom club Newbridge to lift Pontypridd level with leaders Swansea in the Welsh First Division. In the day's other top-flight match, Treorchy's late fightback was in vain as they went down 15-10 at home to champions Neath.

West Hartlepool flanker Andy Tate was sent off for punching 10 minutes from time in his side's 28-21 Anglo-Welsh Cup victory at Dunvant. Twenty of the visitors' points came from Welsh players, including all their tries - two from Stephen John and the other from Matthew Silva.

Cumbrian minnows Wigton will be the surprise name in tomorrow's Pilkington Cup fifth-round draw after making light of a three-division gulf to beat Otley 16-11. Former New Zealand and Carlisle rugby league player Tani Manihera scored their only try while Trevor Richardson slotted the conversion and three penalties. Also through to the last 32 are Preston Grasshoppers, 28-18 winners at Liverpool St Helens, Leeds, who beat Morley 39-11, and Cheltenham, who shaded Weston-super-Mare 17-10.