France beat Boks but not yet ready for tag of Rugby World Cup favourites

© AFP / SYLVAIN THOMAS

The French, who will host next year's World Cup, claimed their twelfth straight victory on Saturday, edging the world champion Springboks 30-26 in a dour, physical and frequently brutal clash in which both sides had men sent off. France open the global competition next September with a match against the New Zealand All Blacks.

French full-back Thomas Ramos says it is "too early" to claim his side are favourites for next year's Rugby World Cup, despite Saturday's win over holders South Africa in Marseille.

"I don't know if we're favourites for the World Cup but it's good to beat teams like that before playing a big competition," Ramos told reporters

"When you get to a competition like a World Cup, everything is back to square one at the start of the competition.

"To say we're favourites is a bit early but we'll play the World Cup with ambition and objectives," he added.

Ramos' side complete their Autumn Nations Series campaign next Sunday against Japan, but will be without several frontline members of their squad.

Captain and World Rugby player of the year Antoine Dupont is set to be banned after being shown a red card during the Springboks win.

Prop Cyril Baille has undergone a hernia operation, centre Jonathan Danty has a fractured eye socket, and lock Thibaud Flament suffered a concussion after a brutal affair at the Vélodrome.

Red cards for both sides

France head coach Fabien Galthie kept the same starting lineup from the win over Australia.

Thomas Ramos kicked a penalty to make it 3-0 to the hosts before Pieter-Steph du Toit's moment of madness after just 12 minutes as he was red carded for headbutting Jonathan Danty at a ruck.

Ramos slotted the extras to make it 13-0.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
French rugby team overturns Japan at last minute to clock up 10th straight win
French chief of 2023 Rugby World Cup fired for 'management by terror'
France cruise past South Africa at women's rugby World Cup in New Zealand