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Nic Ladds 12th Nov 2009 - 13:58

France set to show why they can be world's best

One of the most fascinating contests that you are likely have seen in quite some time with two of the best in the world at the moment going at it with the French at odds of 6/5 and South Africa 4/6 to come away covered in glory.

The Springboks are quite easily the best team in the world at the moment having destroyed the Lions, run away with the Tri-Nations and now look to brush aside the best Europe have to offer.

France meanwhile finally look like they have a chance of fulfilling their undoubted potential. With a host of Toulouse players in the side, the players will work well together and they have a host of classic French backs full of flair and trickery but also have a formidable forward line to go with it.

The French memorably beat New Zealand before just losing out in the second game and the handicap demonstrates just how good France could be as they are receiving just a two point head start at 10/11.

South Africa have a frighteningly good forward line with Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield the best second row pairing in the world who will have the measure of Lionel Nallet and Romain Millo-Chluski in the lineouts and the French will not want to get in to a kicking game with South Africa as Morne Steyn and especially Fourie du Preez have an outstanding and intelligent game with the boot which France will need to be wary of.

The Springboks back line doesn't look too special, Adi Jacobs at inside centre could be a weak link and it is Steyn, du Preez and the back row of Burger, Brussow and Kankowski who can do the damage but they face formidable opposition in the shape of Louis Picamoles, Imanol Hainordoquy and Thierry Dusatoir in what should be a fascinating battle.

Vincent Clerc (12/1 for first try) and Cedric Heymans (14/1) are both explosive, majestic wingers and perhaps the main question mark is over Damien Traille (20/1) at full back who is preferred to Maxime Medard.

Bryan Habana (10/1) and JP Pietersen (12/1) offer the usual options of the flanks for South Africa, but it is du Preez (20/1), almost undoubtedly the best scrum half in the world who will look to get Julien Dupuy and Francois Trinh-Duc in trouble.

History tells us the France have an excellent chance as South Africa have not won there since 1997 and add to that the fact they are flying in just two days before and after a long season (du Preez has admitted some of them are a little jaded) and the explosive French could be too much for them to handle.

They aren't the best team in the world for no reason though and if France even think about having one of their "off days" then they will be in big trouble.

A winning margin of 1-5 to the home side is 9/2 while 6-10 is 6/1 and the same for the away side is 4/1 and 5/1 respectively and it will be a surprise if the margin is any bigger than that.

This really is a match not to miss and we're going to stick out neck out and side with France to turn over the World Champions. They can beat anyone on their day, and did so against New Zealand away from home and with seven Toulouse players in their side, they will be right at home at the At Municipal Stadium.

This could be a taster of the latter stages of the World Cup next year and the immense battle between the packs and the flanks here should get fans everywhere excited and the best bet is the alternative handicap France -3 points at 7/4 while a punt on Harinordoquy for first try at 25/1 often reaps benefits.


France -3 points - 7/4

Immanol Hainordoquy to score first try - 25/1


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