Jacques Brunel felt that France should have closed out the victory against the Springboks. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

PARIS – France coach Jacques Brunel admitted on Sunday that he was “very annoyed” by the way his team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against South Africa in Paris.

The French were leading Saturday’s one-off Test 23-9 just after halftime, following tries by captain Guilhem Guirado and Mathieu Bastareaud, and then 26-22 with a scrum in the Springbok 22 as the game entered its final minute.

What happened next was a catalogue of misadventures as the French were first penalised, allowing the South Africans to clear their lines.

Damian Penaud then handed the Springboks a lineout which eventually saw replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi slide in with a match-winning try to make it 29-26 in the 85th minute.

“Yesterday I was trying to look at the positives, today I am very annoyed, because we lost a match we should never have lost,” said a downcast Brunel, who has won just two out of nine matches since taking over from Guy Noves last December. 

“We didn’t manage things well, especially in the last four minutes. 

“We had four minutes left and later on, just 30 seconds left to win a match that a top side simply would not lose from that position. We cannot let opportunities like this pass us by.”

Brunel also took a sideswipe at referee Nigel Owens, accusing him of being “indulgent” towards the Springboks, but still managed to look on the bright side as the team move on to face Argentina in Lille next weekend.

“(South Africa) are very strong, with a very big defence, which squeezes you,” he said.

“We managed to break out and reverse the pressure. We succeeded in forcing errors and get ourselves ahead. 

“We showed a lot of control over the whole game, even if I’m angry about the last four minutes,” said Brunel. 

France have now lost their last seven matches against South Africa. Their last win came in Toulouse in 2009.