Forget about a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve or your first high school dance; Tonight’s World Cup quarter-final was much more exciting.
After 80 minutes of play in an action-packed match in Paris, the Springboks beat France 29-28 to qualify for the semi-final of the international rugby spectacle.
Of course the French unleashed all their big guns on the Goats.
There were Antoine Dupont’s (with head guard and all) nimble runs and smart kicks, Grégory Alldritt’s power play and Peato Mauvaka, who left his mark on the matchup with his physical presence.
In between it all, the passionate French spectators were, as it were, the 16th home team player at the Stade de France; a player whose defiant voice cannot be silenced with any color card.
But the Boks – just like the All Blacks – were built for World Cup tournaments and they simply refused to throw in the towel.
Every point the Roosters scored was paid back in their own currency, the scrums continued in top gear and Franco Mostert defended excellently together with Jesse Kriel
In addition, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe and Eben Etzebeth provided the Springbok tries, with Manie Libbok and Handré Pollard putting the home side under further pressure with their kicking skills.
One of Pollard’s set pieces in particular deserves special mention.
The 29-year-old flyhalf, who is playing in barely his second game of the 2023 tournament, stepped up in the 70th minute to take a penalty kick inside his own half.
He stepped back and drove the ball over the crossbar with his right foot to extend the Bok lead to 29 – 25.
It was a decisive kick because after that Deon Fourie and Kwagga Smith made things night for the French at the breakdown points.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 15, 2023
Yes, it was a scramble throughout to tame the Roosters’ fast game, but the Goats are through to another World Cup semi-final.
The DJ wondered (probably slightly reluctantly) towards the end of the game Mandoza’s Nkalakatha blaring over the stadium speakers.
Well done, Goats!
South Africa: Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe and Eben Etzebeth. Goal kicks: Manie Libbok (2) and Handré Pollard. Penalty: Pollard.
France: Tries: Cyril Baille (2) and Peato Mauvaka. Goals: Thomas Ramos (2). Penalties: Ramos (3).