Baby Boks stay unbeaten
The Baby Boks made it two from two with a hard-fought 31-24 win over England on Day Two of the IRB Junior World Championship on Sunday.
The Baby Boks made it two from two with a hard-fought 31-24 win over England on Day Two of the IRB Junior World Championship in France on Sunday.
The Junior Springboks, who are the defending champions, consolidated their place on top of the standings in Pool A (nine points) and now have one more group match to negotiate before the play-offs.
They play tournament hosts France at the same venue on Thursday.
South Africa raced into a 21-0 lead after an impressive start and will perhaps feel disappointed that they did not manage to finish in a more commanding fashion.
Flying wing Seabelo Senatla, scorer of four tries against the USA last week, was denied another hat-trick of tries after his third effort was disallowed for an earlier infringement.
A fourth try and the accompanying bonus point would have confirmed South Africa’s place in the semifinals with a match to spare.
They got off to a flying start and were leading 21-0 after 30 minutes of play in the first half, with the Junior Springboks pinning England in their own half with some clever positional kicks and crunching tackles.
Senatla scored two tries, one out wide after a good backline movement and another with a clever interception, while flyhalf Robert du Preez slotted a conversion and two penalties to keep the pressure in England.
The English, however, started to get into the match towards the end of the first half and had a try disallowed after a knock-on in the build-up. They were, however, rewarded for their persistence when Sam Hill (centre) crossed the line after a good offload from flyhalf Henry Slade.
Slade slotted the conversion to make the score 21-7 at half-time.
A few minutes after the restart England scored again when Elliot Stooke (lock) dotted down in the corner and Slade converted from a difficult angle to reduce the score to 21-14.
But the Baby Boks struck back when imposing flank Jacques du Plessis crashed over in the corner for the team’s third try, while pivot Du Preez added a conversion and a penalty to keep England at bay.
But England fought back with some hard forward surges and they were rewarded when Stooke and Henry Purdy (reserve prop) crashed over for tries in the corner. Slade kept his side within striking distance with his accurate kicking boot, adding two conversions and a penalty.
Irne Herbst (Baby Bok lock) and Tom Price (England replacement flank) were both yellow-carded towards the end after a scuffle.
"This was a must-win for us and definitely the boys were up for it, but there is still work to be done and we are excited for the next one,” said a relieved Ruan Steenkamp, captain of the Baby Boks.
“What pleased me I think was our kicking game, against USA we were running the ball a lot, but especially in this game we turned them around with our kicks and that was definitely great for us," he added.
Dawie Theron, the South Ander Under-20 coach, said afterwards he was glad for the win but disappointed that his team could not secure a valuable bonus point.
“We made a very good start but did not manage capitalise on it. This was a very good win against an English team that have won the Under-20 Six Nations and have played much longer together as a team.
“I am disappointed that we did not keep our discipline in the second half, but there were also some decisions made which were out of our control and influenced the play in the second half. We will now regroup and prepare for our next match against France, who will no doubt be a difficult customer in front of their home fans,” said Theron.
Wales were made to work very hard for their second win of JWC 2013 by Scotland. Leading 13-0 after 30 minutes thanks to an Aaron Warren try, set up from an outstanding offload from full back Jordan Williams, and eight points from the boot of Sam Davies, Wales looked set for a comfortable match.
However Sean Lineen's charges scored the next 16 points to take the lead over a side they lost 42-17 to in the Six Nations earlier this year, number 8 Adam Ashe crashing over for their try in this rally.
Jordan Williams again played a pivotal role in Wales' second try, scored by centre Steffan Hughes, and despite Davies kicking two more penalties, Eoghan Masterson proved the beneficiary from Scotland's forwards to set up an enthralling finale. Scotland had plenty of territory and possession in the dying minutes, but were unable to find that winning score.
New Zealand and Australia had never met in the pool stages before, but played out a match full of the traditional trans-Tasman rivalry and one that was not settled until the final whistle, which the Baby Blacks were the happier team to hear.
Three penalties from flyhalf Simon Hickey and flank Joseph Edwards' try gave New Zealand a 14-0 lead after only 21 minutes, before Reece Hodge got the Australians on the board only to miss another attempt just before the break.
The second half was a different story as Australia kept their opponents' scoreless and cut the deficit to just four points after a period of prolonged on the Baby Blacks' line saw the ball swung out wide for replacement Luke Burton to dive over to the delight of his teammates.
Just like Scotland and England though the Australians couldn't find the winning score, leaving captain Curtis Browning devastated but proud at the final whistle.
In other results, Argentina beat Samoa 28-16, Wales edged Scotland 26-21, France thrashed USA 45-3 and Ireland hammered Fiji 46-3.
Thursday’s fixtures: South Africa v France, England v USA, New Zealand v Ireland, Australia v Fiji, Wales v Argentina, Scotland v Samoa.
Results and scorers:
South Africa 31-24 England
For South Africa:
Tries: Senatla 2, Du Plessis
Cons: Du Preez 2
Pens: Du Preez 4
Tries: Sloan, Stooke, Purdy
Cons: Slade 3
Yellow cards: Irne Herbst (South Africa, 77), Tom Price (England, 78)
New Zealand 14-10 Australia
For New Zealand:
Pens: Hickey 3
Argentina 28-16 Samoa
Tries: Bernardini, Mazzoni, Penalty try
Cons: Boffelli 2
Pens: Boffelli 3
Con: Ah Ki
Pens: Fenika 3
Yellow cards: Faranisisi Fenika (Samoa, 51), Mathew Peni (Samoa, 56), Pablo Matera (Argentina, 80)
Wales 26-21 Scotland
Tries: Warren, Hughes
Cons: Davies 2
Pens: Davies 3
Tries: Ashe, Masterson
Pens: Allan 3
France 45-3 USA
Tries: Jedrasiak, Parez, Lacroix, Cros, Duhalde, Wieprecht
Cons: Mallet 5, Selponi
Ireland 46-3 Fiji
Tries: Sweetnam 2, Taylor, Scholes 2, Leavy,
Cons: Daly, Scannell
Pens: Daly 3, Scannell