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Springboks finish tour unbeaten with win in Paris

The Associated PressNovember 24, 2013

The Springboks completed another European rugby tour unbeaten and the Wallabies won three straight tests for the first time in a year in autumn internationals on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Argentina halted its worst losing run by defeating Italy 19-14 in Rome, and Romania’s bid for an unbeaten year was ruined in its final game in Bucharest by Fiji, which triumphed 23-7.

South Africa celebrated its first win over France in France since 1997 after a gutsy 19-10 result. The Springboks made a perfect start with JP Pietersen dotting down barely a minute in from his chargedown of scrumhalf Morgan Parra.

Left winger Yoann Huget’s try just before halftime gave the French hope after they trailed 13-0, but the Springboks never looked like being overtaken and had two tries ruled out for knockons. Only penalties were added in the second half.

“What makes this team special is that guys really step up if they need to. You win these games by being mentally very tough and struggling through,” Heyneke Meyer said.

He coached South Africa to 10 wins out of 12 this year, losing only to the All Blacks. They compounded France’s dismal season with an eighth defeat in 10 tests.

“We’re not at their level yet,” France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said. “We’re still missing that little bit extra.”

Australia shrugged off a troubled build-up and the absence of key players to scrape past Scotland 21-15 at Murrayfield.

Coach Ewen McKenzie’s plans were disrupted by suspensions and injuries but the Wallabies’ patched-up backline scored tries through fullback Israel Folau in the first half and winger Chris Feauai-Sautia at the start of the second, with Christian Leali’ifano booting the rest of the points.

The Scots, looking for a third successive win over Australia, were only 13-12 behind at halftime thanks to Greig Laidlaw’s unforgiving boot and were never more than a converted try in arrears after the break. But a familiar lack of cutting edge out wide proved their undoing.

“I’m sick of being good losers,” Scotland coach Scott Johnson said.

Argentina could thank Nicolas Sanchez for helping to end its eight-match losing streak. Sanchez hit three out of four goalkicks plus a dropped goal to pass 100 points in tests for the Pumas, while Tommaso Allan, making his first start for Italy, nailed only three out of eight.

The lead changed five times and both teams scored a try. But even after conceding 16 penalties, the Pumas prevailed again in Italy, where they haven’t lost for 15 years.

Romania had won nine matches and drawn one this year but were undone by the Fijians, who scored three tries to a penalty try.

In Tbilisi, Georgia beat Samoa 16-15 for the first time. A week after losing to the United States by a last-minute penalty, Georgia won with an injury-time penalty by Merab Kvirikashvili.

Samoa scored two highlight tries in the first half, including a 30-meter solo effort past four defenders by flanker Jack Lam, but they couldn’t shrug off the Lelos and suffered a fourth straight loss, and third on its European tour after falling to Ireland and the French Barbarians.

Also, Japan hammered Spain 40-7 in Madrid, Canada handled Portugal 52-8 in Lisbon, and the United States topped Russia 28-7 in London, after which USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville called the lack of a live webfeed of the match disappointing, and promised the Eagles would not play in Europe “where we cannot get an appropriate feed.”

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