Page last updated at 05:31 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

S Africa fury over 'joke' anthem

France vs South Africa rugby union test match in Toulouse, France, 13 November
The Springboks were upset 20-13 by the French

South Africa's rugby team has accused France of "disrespecting" their country's national anthem at the start of Friday's test match in Toulouse.

The vice-captain of the Springboks called the rendition a "joke" after the singer forgot some of the lyrics and struggled to hit the high notes.

Many in the crowd began to laugh during the anthem, which incorporates five of South Africa's 11 official languages.

Making matters worse, the world champs went on to lose 20-13 to France.

South African coach Peter de Villiers told reporters the French deserved to win, but added that he was very angry with the hosts for the poor singing of the anthem.

"Before I answer the first question, I must first convey that we were annoyed by the fact the French did not respect our anthem. They did not really get somebody who knows it," he said.

South Africa forward Victor Matfield said the players were so shocked by the anthem blunder, they lost concentration before the match.

"It was a joke out there and the guys couldn't even sing (along) and even the crowd was starting to laugh," he said.

"Every time you go out on the field and sing the national anthem, it's something that fires you up... It was a big disappointment."

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France 20-13 South Africa
13 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union


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