Analyzing the Defeat of XV de France Against South Africa in the 2023 Rugby World Cup

France south africa world cup

Analyzing the Defeat of XV de France Against South Africa in the 2023 Rugby World Cup

The 2023 Rugby World Cup witnessed a thrilling quarter-final clash between XV de France and South Africa, which ended in a heart-wrenching 28-29 defeat for the French side. While emotions ran high, with some fans expressing discontent over contentious refereeing decisions, the defeat can be dissected through a set of telling statistics. In this analysis, we’ll delve into the numbers that reveal the story behind France’s exit from the tournament.

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63% and 60%: The Battle of Possession and Occupation

Possession and Occupation

In a departure from their usual style of play, the French team found themselves in a role reversal against the Springboks. Statistics show that XV de France had 60% possession of the ball and a commanding 63% territorial occupation, a rare scenario for a team that often yields possession to their opponents.

This shift in dynamics allowed the South African side to dictate the pace, entrusting the French with ball control. The Springboks capitalized on this advantage, particularly in the first half, making effective use of high kicks to exploit French vulnerabilities.

Set-Piece Struggles – The Lost Scrums

Another area where France faced adversity was in the scrums. They lost a total of four scrums, all following the introductions of Antoine Dupont. This demonstrated the raw power of the South African forwards, including Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Fourie, Nche, and Koch, who dominated the French front row.

Notably, Dorian Aldegheri, brought on before the hour mark, struggled immensely against Ox Nche. The Springboks’ confidence in their scrummaging ability was evident as they won seven out of eight scrums on their own put-in—an uncommon feat in modern rugby. Even on occasions when they had the option of a lineout, the Boks opted for a scrum, underscoring their dominance in this aspect of the game.

The Costly First-Half Points

The first half of the match proved to be the downfall of XV de France as they conceded a staggering 19 points. Three tries, which could be described as gifts, were the primary contributors to this deficit. The first try came after a miscued kick from Cobus Reinach, which Gaël Fickou failed to handle, allowing Kurt-Lee Arendse to capitalize and score. The second try followed a high-pressure kick, this time by Manie Libbok, leading to confusion in the French ranks, with Cameron Woki getting tangled up, ultimately leading to an easy try for De Allende.

The third try resulted from a scrappy ruck exit, with Antoine Dupont losing the ball under defensive pressure from Eben Etzebeth. Cheslin Kolbe finished it off by running over 50 meters to score. South Africa’s ability to turn these opportunities into points made a significant difference, with them amassing eight turnovers in the game compared to France’s five.

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Bonus Tiime Conclusion

The statistics from the quarter-final clash between XV de France and South Africa in the 2023 Rugby World Cup paint a clear picture of why the French side faced defeat. Their uncharacteristic dominance in possession and occupation, combined with scrum struggles and costly first-half points, ultimately played a pivotal role in their elimination from the tournament. While emotions may still run high, these numbers provide valuable insights into the match dynamics and areas that need improvement for future campaigns.

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