Reinvigorated Springboks give France the blues

South Africa secured a series victory over France thanks to a 37-15 success that was impressive for its attacking verve and defensive solidity in equal measure.

The Springboks, who endured a torrid 2016, took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with last week's 37-14 win in Pretoria - a result that drew fierce criticism from Les Bleus coach Guy Noves.

France were boosted by the return of players who featured in the Top 14 final and did show improvement at Kings Park on Saturday, but ultimately were beaten by the Springboks' strong first-half showing.

After the visitors took an early lead through South Africa-born Scott Spedding, the Boks sparked into life and romped into the lead via scores from Jan Serfontein and the impressive Siya Kolisi - the flanker celebrating turning 26 on Friday by claiming his first Test try.

Having scored 23 unanswered points during that spree, South Africa survived almost relentless France pressure for the first 20 minutes of the second half, before Coenraad Oosthuizen and Elton Jantjies added late gloss in the final stages, either side of France's Damian Penaud marking his debut with a try.

Spedding was one of France's number who featured in the Top 14 decider two weeks ago and he secured the first points in the third minute, just managing to stay in touch and get the ball down despite the valiant efforts of Eben Etzebeth in the left corner.

Jantjies reduced the deficit with a penalty, before there was concern for the Springboks as Teboho Mohoje was carried from the field after taking a blow to the head in attempting a tackle.

Following a lengthy delay, South Africa went in front for the first time as swift hands down the left freed Serfontein and the lead was swiftly extended as Kolisi pulled off a stunning pick-up off his laces to intercept Francois Trinh-Duc and go over.

Jantjies added two more penalties to make it 23-7 at the break before France began the second period as they had the first but after a period of sustained pressure Baptiste Serin threw a loose pass out wide and the Boks survived.

The hosts remained defiant in defence, scrum-half Ross Cronje denying Penaud in the left corner and France were forced to knock over a penalty through Trinh-Duc with 15 minutes to go.

But any slim hopes of a comeback were soon dashed as replacements Pieter-Steph du Toit and Oosthuizen combined for the latter to crash over, running right over Nans Ducuing in the process.

Penaud clinically finished a fine France move, stepping inside a couple of defenders but it was the Boks who had the final say as the irrepressible Kolisi broke clear and fed Jantjies for his first Test try to round off a resounding triumph.

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