Live and learn. France winger Damian Penaud has learnt from Les Bleus’ Rugby World Cup exit and is employing one of the Springboks’ tactics.
South Africa knocked France out of their home of World Cup in the tournament’s quarter-finals, sealing a 29-28 in a rollercoaster fixture.
Eben Etzebeth’s late try and two clutch kicks from Handre Pollard secured the win for the Springboks in the nail-biting knockout match.
However, one play was also hotly debated and proved pivotal in the game’s final outcome: Kolbe’s charge down on Thomas Ramos’ conversion kick.
After Peato Mauvaka’s try in the 22nd minute, Ramos had the opportunity to put France two points ahead with the touchline conversion after the two sides traded early tries.
However, Ramos’ ex-Toulouse teammate Kolbe had other ideas, as he sprinted towards the French full-back and managed to charge down the conversion attempt – denying Les Bleus crucial points in a one-point World Cup knockout defeat.
While this has always been in the law book, it was a clear tactic from the Springboks’ wingers, with Kurt-Lee Arendse chasing for a charge down on the previous conversion attempt.
Now, it looks as if France’s speedster Penaud has learnt from Kolbe as he attempted to do the same in Bordeaux’s Top 14 fixture against La Rochelle on Sunday.
La Rochelle hooker Pierre Bourgarit scored in the 28th minute of the derby fixture, and Penaud’s World Cup teammate Antoine Hastoy lined up the conversion from out wide.
However, the Bordeaux winger sped towards Hastoy as he moved towards the ball, and while Penaud was unable to charge down the conversion attempt successfully, he did manage to put Hastoy off enough to miss.
His efforts meant that Bordeaux would lead the defending Top 14 champions 9-8 at half-time, and after the break, they extended their lead through a Nicolas Depoortere try and went even further ahead when Penaud scored his first try for his new club since joining from Clermont.
Despite leading 21-8, Bordeaux would still go on to lose the match, with UJ Seuteni and Bourgarit grabbing second-half tries with young fly-half Hugo Reus slotting a penalty to secure the 25-21 victory for La Rochelle.
The win saw Ronan O’Gara’s charges move into eighth place on the standings while Bordeaux slipped down to 10th spot.