Springboks to draw inspiration from heroic 14-man effort in Marseille last year

Springboks to draw inspiration from heroic 14-man effort in Marseille last year

South Africa face a mammoth task in trying to topple France on home soil in Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final, but they have plenty of experience to draw from.

Bok fans will remember that South Africa played an epic Test match against France in Marseille last year where, even though they lost the match 30-26, they produced a heroic performance with 14 men after Pieter-Steph du Toit was sent off for a head clash with Jonathan Danty.

Eventually reduced to just 13, the Boks still had a chance to pull off an unlikely victory in the dying moments of the match, and though France ultimately hung on for the win, the moral victory arguably belonged to the Boks.

"It was a fantastic experience even though we got a red card and lost the match," said South Africa's Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.

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"In the changeroom after the match, it was probably one of the proudest moments for me with how players made plans and actually enjoyed with all respect towards the French guys. It was an unbelievable experience.

"To get a red card and be in the game in the last three or four minutes was something I hope will help us on Sunday because many of the players here were involved in that match. In my whole rugby and coaching career it was probably one of the most intense and delightful situations to be in and I am pretty sure Sunday is going to be the same."

Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick added: "It was a good Test, and the crowd was very hostile, far from friendly to the opposition. However, if you're going to win the World Cup, you have to go through the strong teams.

"We were unfortunate last year when we finished the game with 13 players, but we kept on fighting, so we have the belief that it's possible."

Talismanic France captain Antoine Dupont has been cleared to return for the quarter-final after fracturing his cheekbone three weeks ago and Erasmus expects the scrumhalf to have a major impact.

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"I broke my jaw three times, and you can get leaner because you can't eat!" Erasmus joked.

"A lack of fitness won't be a problem for him.

"The surgeon cleared him.

"I have no doubt he will play, and it will be a big challenge for us to try and contain him," he added.

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