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France looses to South Africa in the Quarter Finals of the Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup 2023 | Match Centre | France 28:29 South Africa

In a riveting quarter-final clash that will surely go down in history, South Africa preserved their World Cup title defense by securing a thrilling victory over France.

Eben Etzebeth’s remarkable late surge propelled the Springboks from behind to halt France’s remarkable 18-game winning streak on home turf. This triumph earned them a spot in the semi-finals, where they will face England, setting the stage for a rematch of the 2019 final, an epic encounter between two rugby titans.

The Stade de France witnessed a heart-pounding first half where both teams demonstrated their prowess, scoring three tries each. However, a crucial penalty by Thomas Ramos provided the hosts with a slender lead at halftime.

In the second half, as France sought to gain momentum, Ramos added another three points. The resilient French side, led by their returning talisman Antoine Dupont, aimed to seize the maiden title from the defending champions.

But it was Etzebeth’s try that marked the turning point, overturning the deficit. The match’s fate hung in the balance until Handre Pollard’s colossal penalty from inside his own half ultimately sealed the victory. Despite another Ramos penalty narrowing the gap, South Africa prevailed, ending France’s World Cup aspirations.

France’s World Cup journey came to an abrupt halt after entering the tournament as strong contenders. With an impressive victory over New Zealand in their opener and topping Pool A with a perfect record, they were poised to win their first Webb Ellis Cup. A fractured cheekbone to Dupont cast a shadow, but he made a triumphant return to the field against the Springboks, fueling hope for a successful 2023 campaign.

The match began with intensity, as France swiftly moved the ball through Dupont, resulting in Cyril Baille’s try in the corner. South Africa answered back, with Damian De Allende orchestrating a breakaway try to take the lead.

Peato Mauvaka’s try evened the score before Cheslin Kolbe’s outstanding charge-down of Ramos’ conversion attempt turned the tide. Kolbe then showcased his exceptional skills, scoring South Africa’s third try. Baille completed his brace, and Ramos’ conversion and a penalty ensured France’s lead at halftime.

The second half was characterized by cautious play from both sides, but the momentum shifted when Etzebeth powered over the line. South Africa’s experience, with eight of their starting XV from the 2019 World Cup final, proved crucial in securing the win.

As they now prepare to face England in the semi-finals, South Africa aims to make history by becoming the most successful side in World Cup history. Their smart tactics, including challenging the inexperienced French wing, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, allowed them to gain the upper hand. Despite early uncertainties, Manie Libbok calmly slotted the ball through the posts, while De Allende and Kolbe showcased their scoring prowess.

With this remarkable victory, South Africa emerges as strong favorites to reach consecutive World Cup finals, setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown with England.

Match Summary

Quarter-Final 4 |France 28:29 South Africa

France Scores:

TRIES Cyril Baille (4′, 31′), Peato Mauvaka (22′)
CONV Thomas Ramos (5′, 32′)
PENS Thomas Ramos (41′, 54′, 73′)

South Africa Scores:

TRIES Kurt-Lee Arendse (8′), Damian de Allende (18′), Cheslin Kolbe (26′), Eben Etzebeth (67′)
CONV Manie Libbok (10′, 28′), Handre Pollard (67′)
PENS Handre Pollard (69′)
Stade de France, Saint-Denis


Ben O’Keeffe

Man of the Match:

Antoine Dupont (France)


For everything about the Rugby World Cup 2023 check out our guide here.

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