South Africa ‘A’ thrash French Barbarians in Soweto to wrap up series 2-0

Ox Nche of South Africa A on his way to score during the match between South Africa A and French Barbarians at Orlando Stadium on June 23, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ox Nche of South Africa A on his way to score during the match between South Africa A and French Barbarians at Orlando Stadium on June 23, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Image: Gallo Images
South Africa ‘A’ scored six tries, including a brace each by Chris Cloete and Warrick Gelant, to convincingly beat the French Barbarians 48-28 in the second and final match at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Friday night.

As a result of this victory, South Africa ‘A’ won the international series 2-0 following a 36-28 victory at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban last weekend.

The other impressive performer for the 14-man South African was flyhalf Fred Zeilinga who scored all his kicks, which included five conversions and two penalties, as he took advantage of the opportunity he was given by coach Johan Ackermann.

South Africa ‘A’ played the match without pivot Handre Pollard who was withdrawn from the bench just before kickoff due to a sore ankle.

Warrick Gelant got the scoreboard ticking for the hosts with an easy try after seventy seconds when he managed to breach the French Barbarians’ defence and Fred Zeilinga converted.

The visitors roared back into the game with a try of their own five minutes later when Lucas Dupont touched down and the highly experienced Frederic Michalak was spot on with his conversion to level the score.

In the 20th minute, Cloete gave South Africa ‘A’ the lead again when he bounced off five tackles before scoring the second try for the hosts and Zeilinga successfully converted his second conversion.

French Barbarians drew level after 29 minutes when Fabrice Estebanez touched down after a powerful rolling maul for Michalak to convert.

The hosts retook the lead two minutes later when Ox Nche ran for about 40 meters to score a delightful try and Zeilinga made no mistake with the third conversion.

Ruan Botha saw red in the 28th minute for a dangerous tackle while on the stroke of half time Jean Baptiste Dubie was given a yellow card for a no arms tackle on Zeilinga who stood up to score a penalty.

South Africa ‘A’ did not take too long to further increase their lead after the restart as Cloete registered his second try of the night with Zeilinga obliging with an easy conversion in front of the poles.

Mapoe effectively took the game away from the French Barbarians when he scored a try in the 52nd minute that allowed Zeilinga to register his fifth conversion of the night.

Later in the game, Marco Tauleigne and Lucas Dupichot scored two tries for the visitors but they proved to be consolations as South Africa ‘A’ were in control of the match.

Zeilinga scored his second penalty of the match in the 52nd minute and Gelant his second try that was converted by Jano Vermaak to complete what has been a good outing for the home side on a chilly night in Soweto.

In the other match played earlier in the day at the same venue, Lions beat the Blue Bulls 55-49 in their highly entertaining Vodacom Rugby Challenge match.

South Africa ‘A’ (31) 48Tries: Gelant (2), Cloete (2), Nche, Mapoe Conversions: Zeilinga (5), Vermaak (1)Penalties: Zeilinga (2)French Barbarians (14) 28Tries: Dupont, Estebanez, Tauleigne, Dupichot Conversions: Michalak (3), Belleau (1)

BY MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE – TimesLIVE

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