View Full Version : French tourists continue to make their mark

29-07-08, 02:06 PM


Four days after their victory against Rhodesia, France took on Northern and Western Transvaal in Pretoria.

A large crowd of 30,000 people gathered at Loftus Versfeld in the expectation of seeing the hosts crush the tourists but instead were treated to a thrilling clash.

France led 10-3 late in the first half but the South Africans, led by Springbok skipper Johann Claassen raised their game and a ferocious battle ensued.

With just 20 minutes to go in the second half France were trailing 19-10, but their talented backline conjured a late surge with two tries to bring them to within a point and a successful conversion would see them clinch a memorable victory.

It then fell to Pierre Lacaze, carrying a collarbone injury, to take the kick in front of the posts – but he missed when it seemed easier to score.

The four tries to three victory went to the Northern and Western Transvaal and defeat came at a further cost to the French with Louis Casaux, Lacaze, Lucien Mias, Louis Echave and Pierre Danos all joining the injury list.

But with another impressive display the tourists continued to cause a stir with many South-African voices a little alarmed by the style and courage of the visitors.

Some leading journalists even started to consider the previously unlikely idea that France could win at least one Test match – a result that would highlight the limits of their own national side.

This was confirmed Saturday 19 July, against what was supposed to be the best South African provincial side: Natal, Transvaal and East Transvaal.

The referee had been instructed to make sure the violence of the game in Pretoria wouldn’t be repeated.

But despite the fact that Natal won 37 scrums against 9, the French demonstrated that winning the ball isn’t everything.

They were reminded that you need to be able to use it in the best way possible and play for the full 80 minutes.

Full back Michel Vannier was badly injured in the 25th minute, and was replaced by Roger Martine on proposal of the Natal skipper Peter Taylor.

The scores were locked at 5-5 at half time but France battled to a 13-11 lead with just three minutes left in the game.

But a penalty kick for Natal gave them a 14-13 lead as the game entered the closing stages.

But there was more to come as the tourists rallied themselves once more.

Henri Rancoule managed to get his hands on the ball and swerved his way around the Natal defence before off-loading to François Moncla who dotted down for his second try of the match.

Prop Raoul Barričre was unable to notch the conversion but France held on for a 16-14 victory, outscoring their hosts four tries to two.

29-07-08, 03:24 PM
Doc Caven would role in his grave hearing that writer call Natal one of the best teams back then :lol: . Natal won their 1st Currie Cup in 1990.
But keep these articles coming, they're quite interesting.