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Springboks edge out France in World Cup battle royale

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South Africa beat France 29-28 in an explosive battle for the ages on Sunday to set up a Rugby World Cup semi-final against England and consign the hosts to the exit.

That either side should lose in the last eight seemed unjust given the breathtaking display of rugby delivered over 80 scintillating minutes at the Stade de France.

Three tries apiece in an astonishing first half, bone-juddering tackles throughout, blistering line defence and exquisite individual skills left the almost 80,000 squeezed into the packed Paris stadium agog.

Smart box-kicking by the Springboks had kept French hearts permanently in their mouths with Thomas Ramos looking less than steady under the barrage of high balls, and it was the Springboks who won a second-half tactical arm-wrestle thanks to their power, a mighty Eben Etzebeth try proving the difference.

England awaits having overcome Fiji 30-24 at the Marseille Velodrome to book their last-four spot. The other semi-final will feature New Zealand, conquerors of world number one-ranked Ireland, against Argentina.

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