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Saturday, 10 November, 2001, 23:41 GMT
French shock Springboks
Raphael Ibanez grounds in France's try in the second half
Raphael Ibanez scored France's try in the second half
France 20-10 South Africa

Debutant Francois Gelez inspired France to a surprise victory over South Africa at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The fly-half celebrated his first appearance in a French jersey by kicking four penalties, with Raphael Ibanez adding the all-important try.

Despite dominating prolonged passages of the match, the visitors had only Pieter Rossouw's 49th minute try and five points from the boot of Braam van Straaten to show for their efforts.

The defeat also meant Harry Viljoen's side began their four-match tour of Europe and the United States with defeat.

France began the match as underdogs as coach Bernard Laporte was forced to give seven players their international debuts.

Joost Van Der Westhuizen is takcled by a French player
Joost Van Der Westhuizen was largely ineffective
And the Springboks immediately made their experience count when Van Straaten kicked his 200th point in Test rugby after five minutes for a 3-0 lead.

But Gelez brought the scores level with a penalty in the 15th minute before giving France the lead with another penalty from a tight angle.

And the Agen man soon extended his side's lead at the end of the first half when flanker AJ Venter was penalised for charging into an opponent without the ball.

Rossouw's try, followed by a Van Straaten conversion, gave South Africa a 10-9 lead nine minutes after the half-time interval.

But centre Damien Traille soon regained the lead for France when he kicked a penalty from inside his own half.

The home side began to dominate possession and another Springbok error lead to Gelez's fourth penalty of the night.

And hooker Ibanez wrapped up a deserved French victory when he went over in the dying minutes of the match.

France: 15-Clement Poitrenaud (21-Nicolas Jeanjean, 79); 14-Aurelien Rougerie, 13-Tony Marsh, 12-Damien Traille, 11-David Bory; 10-François Gelez (20-Frederic Michalak, 79), 9-Fabien Galthie (captain); 8-Francis N'Tamack (19-Serge Betsen, 79), 7-Olivier Magne, 6-Patrick Tabacco, 5-Thibault Privat (18-Lionel Nallet, 67), 4-David Auradou, 3-Pieter de Villiers, 2-Raphael Ibanez, 1-Jean-Jacques Crenca.

South Africa: 15-Conrad Jantjes; 14-Breyton Paulse, 13-Andre Snyman (22-Percy Montgomery, 70), 12-Trevor Halstead, 11-Pieter Rossouw; 10-Braam van Straaten, 9-Joost van der Westhuizen; 8-Bob Skinstad (captain), 7-AJ Venter (20-Joe van Niekerk, 75), 6-Andre Vos, 5-Mark Andrews (19-Andre Venter, 79), 4-Victor Matfield, 3-Cobus Visagie (17-Willie Meyer, 67), 2-Lukas van Biljon (16-John Smit, 67), 1-Ollie le Roux (18-Toks van der Linden, 58).

See also:

10 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Clinical Wilkinson sinks Aussies
10 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Pumas maul poor Wales
09 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
France suffer Merceron blow
07 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Marsh gets France call-up
08 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Mitchell gets cool reception
08 Nov 01 |  Scotland
Positive Scots beat Tonga
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