France leave South Africa with three defeats, but learnt some 'valuable' lessons after being whitewashed by the Springboks. Jan de Koning reports from Ellis Park.
Les Bleus coach Guy Noves, speaking after his team's 12-35 loss on the third and final Test at Ellis Park at the weekend, said with the necessary adjustments they would be able to topple the Boks in the future.
However, h admitted they have lots of ground to make up on the 'big' teams of the game.
Noves, who spoke of the Boks' greater physicality in the first two Tests (a 14-37 loss in Pretoria and 15-37 loss in Durban), said the physicality of the Springboks is not something new.
"They are certainly very impressive and very efficient in that regard," the French coach told a media briefing at Ellis Park.
He readily admitted that his team was 'outplayed' by their South African hosts throughput the series.
"They are very efficient when they get on the front foot," Noves said, adding: "That is something e have to work on."
Asked about the 'positives' for his team from a series whitewash, he said their fighting spirit was good.
"After a very bad start [in the third Test], in which we conceded 10 points in the first eight minutes, the team kept going and did not give up.
"They kept troubling the Boks," he said.
However, Noves felt the biggest positive to come from this series is that they realise the amount of work they have to do to get close to the top teams, both individually and collectively.
"We will leave South Africa with three defeats, but the new agreement between the clubs and the French Federation would help our players improve their skills and qualities.
"With those improvements, I expect that we would be able to challenge the Springboks in the future."
Captain Guilhem Guirado praised the Springbok for their all-round skills and energy.
"Apart from their greater physicality, they were also good on defence and in the scrums," the hooker said.
"They also stole two of our balls in the line-outs and the tight forwards did great work to put pressure on us - preventing us from getting our game going."