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Whiteley cautions against talk of Bok renaissance after French series win

Warren Whiteley Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

South Africa captain Warren Whiteley is cautioning against premature predictions of a Springbok renaissance after beating France in Saturday's second Test in Durban and securing the series after also winning the first one week ago in Pretoria.

"This is our second game," he said of a new-look Bok team seeking to banish memories of the 2016 campaign when they lost a record eight times in 12 matches.

"I think we have 11 or 12 more games this year [it is 11]. There is still a lot of rugby to be played. I'm not saying we didn't do well ... of course, we are extremely excited by this start and the foundation we have laid ... but we still believe there is a lot of rugby to be played and we still believe we can improve more as a team and that is what is exciting for us as a group.

"There were a fair number of unknowns going into last week, a lot of pressure on us as a team but we prepared a lot better than we did in the past, we had various number of camps, every one was on the same page and we could execute our plans. And that is what made the second week so much easier.

"We had continuity within our team selection and we knew what our processes were. And therefore our preparation was accurate and we could perform. But once again, we haven't achieved anything as a team. This is a good start for us but there is still a massive test match next week," Whiteley added. The last match of the series is at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, again on Saturday.

South Africa recovered from a slow start, and conceded a try after just three minutes to be 23-7 ahead at halftime, but then had to deal with a 15-minute spell after the break where the French went through phase after phase in a bid to breach the Bok defence and reduce the deficit.

"We knew it would be tougher after halftime. The wind kind of picked up in the second half and so we were under a bit of pressure and they turned us over a couple of times, but once again the character of the side was phenomenal. We pride ourselves on our defence and you can see that coming through within the side. We managed to hold them out there, which was important," Whiteley added.