It was all character, says Bok captain Whiteley


DURBAN – Springbok captain Warren Whiteley said he was “really proud of the team” after they beat France at Kings Park on Saturday.

South Africa defeated the French 37-15 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-Test series, and continue their recovery after a horror 2016 season.

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Captain Warren Whiteley (No 8) and the rest of the Boks celebrate Siya Kolisi's try. Photo: Leon LestradeElton Jantjies shows his delight in scoring a try to go with his four conversions and three penalties for a 22-point haul. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

After conceding an early try, the clinical Springboks built a 23-7 halftime lead, then defended brilliantly before scoring a couple of late tries.

A second successive win over France was another step forward for South Africa following a calamitous 2016 season, in which they lost eight of 12 Tests.

The scoreline was almost identical to the first Test in Pretoria – won 37-14 by South Africa – even though France, with eight changes, were expected to provide much tougher opposition.

France failed to score when dominant during the third quarter and this proved their undoing, leaving them with only pride to play for in Johannesburg next Saturday.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies scored a try to go with his four conversions and three penalties for a 22-point haul, while barnstorming flank Siya Kolisi also got on to the scoreboard and was named as the Man of the Match for an outstanding performance.

Bok skipper and No 8 Whiteley said: “They put some pressure on us in the first 10 minutes, but we managed to turn it around, picked up the intensity and put the pressure back on them.

“The second half was also important for us. We knew the pressure would be on us. I’m really proud of the team.

“It was all character – that’s what we’ve been speaking about the last three or four weeks.

“Just extremely proud of the boys, the support has been phenomenal. We really appreciate it, we want to make our country proud.”

France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado said: “We started the match well, and after the South Africans attacked us from every angle, we had a very bad tackle.”

AFP, Staff Writer

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