A first-half blitz from France secured a 46-29 victory over South Africa in their Pool C clash Under-20 World Championship in Narbonne on Thursday, a result that sees both sides advance to the semi finals.
France were magnificent in the opening 40 minutes, cutting through South Africa at will as they raced into a 36-7 lead at halftime.
However, South Africa responded in the second period to outscore their hosts, some consolation from what was otherwise a poor display as they slipped to a first loss to France at the global championships.
The same four sides have now qualified for semi finals as 12 months ago, with defending champions New Zealand to take on France, while South Africa must meet England. Both games will be played on Tuesday.
After a high-energy start from both sides, both of whom missed penalties, France hit the front when they gathered the ball from a botched South African line-out and massive number eight Jordan Joseph crashed over in the corner.
Flyhalf Louis Carbonel added a penalty to extend the home lead to 10 points, before France scored a brilliant second try as they showed great pace and good handling to tear through the South African defence for Carbonel to cross over unopposed.
The rampant start from the home side continued as they stormed into the South African half again and with quick ball at the breakdown, stretched the defence to the point that giant Joseph was able to easily dot down for the score.
It was French flair at its best and South Africa had no answer to the attacking pace and power from the home side as centre Pierre-Louis Barassi crossed for a fourth try inside 28 minutes.
There was simply no let-up in the carnage as minutes later France got their driving maul going, it was far too powerful for the splintering South African defence and Romain Ntamack dived over to make the score 36-0 at more than a point a minute.
South Africa finally got their hands on the ball and used their forwards to take the ball through 12 phases until hooker Schalk Erasmus barged over the line for the final score of the half.
France applied more pressure at the start of the second period, but South Africa managed to exit their 22 and moved the ball up-field before a driving maul from a line-out allowed replacement prop Tiaan van der Merwe was able to burrow his way over the line.
An error from South African scrumhalf Zak Burger as he through a speculative pass straight to Cameron Woki saw France power towards the visitors' line and Jean-Baptiste Gros finished the move with France's sixth try.
However, with the home side visibly tiring, the South Africans enjoyed a period of concerted pressure in the French 22 and when the ball was fed wide to wing Wandisile Simelane, he stepped inside and provided a neat finish under pressure.
Replacement hooker Maxime Lamothe paid the price for some repeated French infringements as he was sent to the sin-bin on 66 minutes.
The visitors continued to dominate territory and possession and were rewarded with their bonus-point fourth try as they used their forwards to get close to the line before prop Alulutho Tshakweni got over.
It was a repeat straight afterwards as South Africa used the forwards again and began to make metres at will and another replacement prop, Sazi Sandi got the score under the posts.
However, France grabbed the final points of the game as Carbonel kicked a penalty from directly in front of the posts.