The Springboks, following a dramatic loss to England this past weekend, head to Paris to take on France in what should be a thrilling encounter between two exciting sides. But, before the action gets underway, here are 16 facts about the big international clash that you should know:
• The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 444. There are 191 caps in the backline with 253 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 149 caps.
• The average caps per player in the backline are 27, the forwards are 32 while the players on the bench average 19. The average age of the starting 15 is 26.
• Handré Pollard needs one point to reach 300 career points in Test rugby. Should he score 14 points or more in this Test, he will surpass Naas Botha’s career record of 312 points and will move up to fourth position on the all-time point scoring list for South Africa.
• The Springboks’ first Test at the Stade de France was the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England on 24 October 1999, which South Africa won by 44-21 in front of approximately 77,000 fans.
• Jannie de Beer scored 34 points through two conversions, five penalty goals and a world record of five drop goals.
• The Springboks played their first Test match against France at the Stade de France two years later, on 10 November 2001. South Africa lost 10-20 in front of 70,000 spectators.
• To date, South Africa has played eight Test matches at the Stade de France. The record is: P: 8; W: 6; L: 2; PF: 199; PA: 113; TF: 15; TA: 8; Average score: 25-14; Win%: 75%.
• Of the above-mentioned eight Tests, four were against France. The record: P: 4; W: 2; L: 2; PF: 67; PA: 73; TF: 6; TA: 7.
• The Springboks’ top scorers at the Stade de France are Percy Montgomery (54 points, 9 conversions and 12 penalty goals), JP Pietersen (three tries) and Jannie de Beer (5 drop goals).
• The match records are held by Jannie de Beer (34 points, 5 penalty goals and 5 drop goals), JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana (2 tries each).
• South Africa’s overall record against France is: P: 43; W: 26; L: 11; D: 6; PF: 910; PA: 636; TF: 103; TA: 57; Average score: 21-15. Win%: 60%.
• South Africa’s biggest win against France (42 points) was in 1997 at the Parc des Princes in Paris, when the Springboks ran in seven tries with the final score 52-10. On that day, Pieter Rossouw scored four tries, only the second Springbok to score four tries in a Test match at the time.
• The Springboks’ biggest loss against France was on 9 November 2002 in Marseilles when South Africa lost by 10-30.
• The referee is Nigel Owens of Wales, the most experienced referee in the world, carrying the whistle in 85 Test matches.
• To date, Nigel Owens has refereed 17 Test matches involving the Springboks, of which South Africa won 10 and lost seven for a 59% win rate.
• The assistant referees are Matthew Carley and Tom Foley, and Rowan Kitt is the TMO. All three are from England.
France – 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Subs: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Gael Fickou.
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe.