What the French newspapers are saying on Sunday about the Springboks’ 18-17 win against France.
The French press batter Les Bleus this morning. ‘Nothingness’ is the headline on the front page of L’Equipe, which describes South Africa’s victory at the Stade de France as being ‘unworthy’ of international status. The paper also doubts whether France will beat Japan next Saturday in the last of their four November matches.
For L’Equipe the defeat was all the more humiliating because they were up against a South Africa side ‘on their knees’ and without a competent goal-kicker. ‘Guy Novès’ team failed tactically and mentally and we don’t see how the coach can stay at the head of a project that hasn’t progressed one iota,’ says the paper.
Its columnist, Fabien Galthié, is similarly unsparing in his analysis of the game, writing: ‘Last night I saw the two sleeping giants of world rugby continue to sleep.’ The Toulon coach bemoans the performance of two teams who lacked precision and pace, and says France are far behind Ireland and England in terms of physical preparation. Galthié also has some harsh words about Handré Pollard, describing him as not fit to be a Test match flyhalf.
Writing in Le Journal Du Dimanche, the veteran French rugby journalist Daniel Herrero says France were beaten by a South African side ‘not radically superior but incontestably better educated’. He goes to say: ‘Boks and Cocks, these animals are at the moment so far from the terrain that they once inhabited.’
Le Journal Du Dimanche wonders if Noves is ‘for the guillotine’ and decides probably not, although the paper – in noting England’s 30-6 win over Australia – admits that the two old rivals ‘no longer play in the same league’.
La Depeche, the regional paper of Toulouse, the city whose rugby club was made great by Novès, ridicules the ‘schoolboy errors’ made by France against the Boks, and says it was a ‘shameful’ performance in a match that was a sorry advert for the game.
In its player ratings, L’Equipe awards top French marks to Teddy Thomas, the winger earning a 6/10 for his display, while Siya Kolisi, Lood De Jager and Eben Etzebeth all receive a 6/10. But the paper’s Man of the Match is Malcolm Marx, awarded 7/10 for his combative all-round performance, who, as he did in June’s thee-Test series, bossed Les Bleus around the park.
By Gavin Mortimer in Paris