Now Boks’ chance to find key to unlock France

November 9, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

The Sringboks are searching for the key that will unlock an in form France side when the teams clash in their end-of-year-tour match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Saturday night.

France are on an incredible winning run, having won their last 11 games in a row, since November last year, and the Boks will now be the next team that attempts to end that run this weekend.

During their impressive run France have beaten three of the big four Southern Hemisphere teams, in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, while they also claimed a clean sweep of wins in the Six Nations earlier this year to power to the title.

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With it less than a year out and a possible meeting between the two sides in the knockout phase of next year’s World Cup, both teams will be eager to pick up a positive result.

“France play a little bit different to other teams in my opinion. They have a very unique kicking game that they bring to the party,” explained Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.

“The last time they lost I think was in the first Test against Australia in 2021, so they have won 11 on the trot and I think everybody is trying to unlock France at the moment but nobody has found the key yet.

“So I think that’s the challenge for us as coaches and players, to try and unlock them. They are a very confrontational team in terms of their ball carriers, they have some big men. They have a good set piece. Their lineout accuracy is quite high, in the 90s (percent) and they have a good rolling maul.

“They are also a stingy team on defence, with their kicking game you struggle to get close to their half, and when you do get there they are a really well organized defensive side. They are the only team on this kind of unbeaten run since after Covid, so it’s going to be a nice challenge for us.”

Play to their strengths

With the Boks eager to bounce back against France, after losing a close match to Ireland over the past weekend, the visitors will be looking to stick to their strengths against the hosts.

One of the things they did do well against Ireland, was their counter rucking, which they managed to procure good possession from but they then wasted it, and Nienaber believes that they won’t get as much purchase in that facet of the game against France.

“I think France is going to be a different challenge (at the breakdown). That was an area that we thought there might be an opportunity for us against Ireland, but France will be completely different in terms of that,” said Nienaber.

“Even though we managed to create some turnovers and opportunities against Ireland, we didn’t utilise them and that’s something we have spoken about at length as a group. When we create opportunities like that we have to come alive.

“I don’t think we ignited as much as we could have in those situations and it’s something that we as coaches must take on the chin. There are a lot of things that we cover in a week and maybe we should have put more of an emphasis on that.

“But we have certainly spoken about that and if we do get opportunities in the French game I am sure the guys will be fired up to take those chances. With a quality team like the French you’re not going to get a lot of those chances, so when we do get them we have to be switched on to take them.”