Kolbe steps up for Baby Boks
South Africa Under-20 overcame their committed French counterparts to record a third successive victory at the IRB Junior World Championship.
South Africa Under-20 overcame their committed French counterparts in front of their home crowd to record a third successive victory at the IRB Junior World Championship.
The 26-19 win - at Stade Henri Desgrange, in La Roche-sur-Yon on Thursday - clinched a place in semifinals for the defending champions.
The result is that the defending champions, South Africa, will go up against Wales at Stade de la Rabine, in Vannes, next Tuesday (June 18).
In the other semifinal last year's beaten finalists, New Zealand, will face England - a side they have beaten in three JWC finals - at the same venue.
The Baby Blacks and Baby Boks are on course to meet in the Final again, after SA edged NZ in Cape Town last year to clinch the title.
New Zealand are ranked top for the play-offs, after scoring 14 points in their three Pool B matches, followed by South Africa and Wales (both 13 points, the Baby Boks with a better points difference) and England - who edged out Ireland and Argentina on points difference, after they all finished on 10 points.
In the other matches next Tuesday Ireland will play France and Argentina tackle Australia in the play-off for fifth to eight places at the Stade Henri Desgrange in La Roche-sur-Yon, while Scotland face the United States and Samoa meet Fiji with all four teams eager to avoid relegation to the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2014.
* It required a try from star fullback Cheslin Kolbe a minute from time, as he stepped his way through the French defensive line, to produce the decisive score for South Africa.
The Baby Boks twice trailed in the match - and were matched for tries, three-all - but they showed tremendous defensive commitment and character to resist a home nation desperate to record a significant victory in their campaign, having already lost to England.
South Africa also had the cool head and accurate boot of Handré Pollard to thank for their win.
He kicked four from six kicks at poles, including an awkward penalty 10 minutes from the final whistle, to nose the Junior Boks ahead on both occasions they fell behind.
And then came the Kolbe magic. South Africa controlled field position in the final 10 minutes, playing some of their best rugby of the match. It was capped by that dazzling break from Kolbe, when the fullback picked up from a ruck on the 22-metre line and danced in untouched to complete a satisfactory match.
* New Zealand, who were pushed to the limit, managed to secure their place in the semifinals - and a top ranking - with a hard-fought 31-26 win over Ireland earlier on Thursday.
New Zealand ran in four tries but a courageous Ireland refused to quit and gave the four-time champions a real scare.
"We thought we had them, especially early in that second half. We knew that the Irish boys, they never give up and they would just keep coming at us and we were lucky to get away with that win. We took that as a quarterfinal and we are just happy to be in finals footy,” said New Zealand captain Ardie Savea.
"Those Irish boys they are real niggly and they love their scrummaging and they proved a point in this competition against us especially, we have got a lot of work to do if we want to go the next step in the semifinals.”
* England scored 17 tries en route to a record 109-0 win over the hapless United States, No.8 David Sisi and flank Ross Moriarty each scoring a hat-trick.
* Wales beat Argentina 25-20 to book their place in the semifinals.
Argentina outscored Wales by two tries to one but it was the boot of Wales flyhalf Sam Davies that proved decisive, the No.10 slotting five penalties a drop goal and a conversion in a polished 20-point haul.
Argentina did not do themselves any favours when they conceded two yellow cards in the second half.
An elated Wales captain Ellis Jenkins said: "There was quite a big wind, we used the wind really well and they did too and they came back in the second half but the lads held on and we are ecstatic with the win.
"The work rate from the boys was just outstanding and what a feeling to win the game like that. It will be another huge game in five days, whoever we get it is going to be a really hard game, really tough."
Results and scorers:
France 19-26 South Africa
Tries: Regard, Tauleigne, Serin
Cons: Selponi, Serin
Tries: Swanepoel, Obi, Kolbe
Pens: Pollard 3
New Zealand 31-26 Ireland
Tries: Tuipulotu, Faiva 2, Visinia
Pens: Hickey 3
Tries: Farrell, Leavy, Byrne
Pens: Scannell 2, Roche
Yellow cards: Thomas Farrell (Ireland, 40), Nick Grogan (New Zealand, 70)
Wales 25-20 Argentina
Pens: Davies 5
Tries: Matera, Cordero
Cons: Fernandez 2
Pens: Fernandez 2
Yellow cards: Guido Petti Pagadizabal (Argentina, 68), Juan Pablo Aguirre Romero (Argentina, 79)
England 109-0 United States
Tries: Purdy 2, Sisi 3, Day 2, Moriarty 3, Conlon 2, Devoto, Howard 2, Stephenson 2
Cons: Hooley 11, Devoto
Scotland 36-33 Samoa
Tries: Farndale, Allan, Hoyland, Fergusson, Kilmartin
Cons: Allan 4
Tries: Nanai, Broomhall, Amituanai, Peni, Ah Sam
Cons: Ah Ki, Alatimu 3
Yellow cards: Natal Malaki (Samoa, 51)
Australia 46-12 Fiji
Tries: Hodge, Browning, Lacey, Baldwin, Northam, Burton, Penalty try
Cons: Hodge 2, Burton 2
Tries: Qionimacawa, Bolenaivalu