France made it a record-extending 12 Test victories in a row with a thrilling late 30-26 win over South Africa in Marseille on Saturday in a contest that saw both sides have a player sent off.

South Africa trailed 13-0 after Pieter-Steph du Toit was dismissed early on for catching Jonathan Danty in the head, either side of a couple of Thomas Ramos penalties, before Cyril Baille stretched over the line.

But the reigning world champions responded through a Cheslin Kolbe penalty and a try from Siya Kolisi, who darted around the side after a collapsing maul, though Ramos ensured France still retained a six-point lead at the break by kicking over another penalty.

Kolbe and Ramos added further points from the boot for their respective sides early in an action-packed second half, which sparked into life when Antoine Dupont was sent off for his challenge on Kolbe to level up the sides at 14 players each.

South Africa wasted no time in taking the lead for the first time through Kurt-Lee Arendse's score in the right corner following a driving maul, which Faf de Klerk added to with another penalty.

But after Ramos and Paul Willemse found the sticks to keep the scoreline tight, there was to be another twist as Deon Fourie was sin-binned with 10 minutes to go and France profited when Sipili Falatea crashed over in the third phase of play, with Ramos adding three more points to seal a statement win a year out from the World Cup.