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France

against Scotland, South Africa gets off on the right foot this time

South Africa, the reigning world champion, got the 2023 World Cup off to a good start on Sunday at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, beating Scotland 18 to 3 at the end of a very physically demanding match.

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South Africa, hanging on for half-time before taking off, got off to a good start in the defense of its title, Sunday September 10 in Marseille, with a victory against Scotland (18-3) in the first shock of the ” group of death” of the 2023 World Cup, pool B.

This time, the Springboks got off to a good start. Between their famous defeat against Japan (34-32) in 2015 and that against New Zealand (23-13) four years ago, they had not started a World Cup with a success since 2011.

An eternity for the triple world champions. A victory worthy of their rank and their ambitions in what they had announced as “the most important match” of their tournament.

Wearing a jersey with questionable aesthetics, the South Africans were only disturbed for the space of half-time by the united and courageous Scots in defense who were only trailing by 3 points (3- 6) after the first 40 minutes of play.

Opener Manie Libbok allowed his team to take the lead thanks to two penalties, but his limitations against the poles – 2 out of 5 before being assisted by Faf de Klerk – could constitute the Achilles heel of the title holders , orphans in this area of ​​Handré Pollard, injured.

After having suffered the enemy occupation foot play and losing precious ammunition in touch, the XV du Chardon gradually began to become emboldened.

While only a clash between Ben White and Damian De Allende had so far made the aisles of the Vélodrome stadium buzz, less noisy than the day before for England-Argentina, he even got the best opportunity of the first act.

But winger Darcy Graham, back from injury, forgot his support while the shift had been made following a good start to the game (30e).

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Power and creativity of the Springboks

The teammates of any Finn Russell will regret not having been able to seize their chance, because they did not have many others as South Africa imposed its superiority in the second half.

Ultra-dominant in melee, she killed the suspense in three minutes with two actions which well sum up the extent of her qualities, between power and creativity.

The third row Pieter-Steph du Toit, best player in the world in 2019, first went to forcefully flatten (47e). Then Libbok, much more interesting in the running game, distilled with a “blind” foot pass a caviar on the right wing to Kurt-Lee Arendse (50e).

Jacques Nienaber’s players, who had listed 14 players on their match sheet to have played in the victorious 2019 final against England (32-12), then only had to manage their lead.

After inflicting on New Zealand the largest defeat in its history (35-7) to complete their preparation, they confirmed, with the serenity of their experience, that they were legitimate candidates for succession.

The only downside to their Marseille picture: the exit from the 26e minute of one of their combat leaders, the former second line of Toulon Eben Etzebeth.

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Scotland will have two weeks to rest their sore shoulders before their next match, on September 24 in Nice, against an equally tough but more approachable opponent: Tonga.

South Africa will play again next Sunday, in Bordeaux, against the weakest opponent in the group, Romania, defeated on Saturday by Ireland (82-8).

With AFP


Fr

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