Springboks brush France aside with Aplon

South Africa 42 France 17
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The Independent Online

South Africa strolled to victory over France at Newlands in Cape Town. The tourists never recovered from a nightmare opening quarter, in which the world champions went 17-0 up.

South Africa made seven changes from the side that beat Wales a week ago as the likes of Pierre Spies, Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger and Morne Steyn returned. The France coach, Marc Lièvremont, gave a debut to the flanker Wenceslas Lauret.

The Springboks made a perfect start as a thrilling counter-attack yielded a second-minute try. David Marty lost the ball and Habana seized on it to race clear. The wing's inside pass found Jaque Fourie, who fed Spies to race to the posts. Steyn converted.

Some woeful French defending then allowed Gio Aplon in for the second try in the first eight minutes. A simple move off a maul saw the wing bounce off Maxime Mermoz and race over for his first Test try. Steyn's conversion made it 14-0 and he then kicked a penalty. A poor decision to counter-attack by Clément Poitrenaud then saw the full-back penalised and Steyn made it 20-0.

In the 29th minute Poitrenaud, Mermoz and Julien Bonnaire sent Aurélien Rougerie galloping over for a try that was converted by Morgan Parra, but the Springboks hit back as Steyn's pass gave Gurthro Steenkamp a run-in down the left. Parra kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

After the break another Steyn penalty re-established South Africa's 18-point lead before Aplon raced 80 metres to score again. Steyn converted. The game then became scrappy as substitutes came on. The flanker Francois Louw scored for South Africa and Marc Andreu scored a late try for France.

South Africa: Z Kirchner (J de Villiers, 61); G Aplon, J Fourie, W Olivier (J de Jongh, 61), B Habana; M Steyn (R Pienaar, 66), R Januarie; G Steenkamp, J Smit (capt; C Ralepelle, 30), BJ Botha (J du Plessis, 57), D Rossouw (F van der Merwe, 61), V Matfield, S Burger (D Potgieter, 61), P Spies, F Louw.

France: C Poitrenaud (D Skrela, 71); V Clerc, D Marty (M Andreu, 64), M Mermoz, A Rougerie; F Trinh-Duc, M Parra (D Yachvili, 67); T Domingo (JB Poux, 41), D Szarzewski (G Guirado, 64), N Mas, L Nallet, R Millo-Chluski, T Dusautoir (capt), J Bonnaire, W Lauret.

Referee: B Lawrence (New Zealand).

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