Baby Boks 'stand firm'
The Junior Springboks held off a strong barrage from a committed French team to advance to the JWC semifinal.
The Junior Springboks held off a strong barrage from a committed French team to remain unbeaten and end top of Group A and qualify for the semifinal.
It was a tough outing for the South African Under-20 side in front of a partisan crowd in La Roche-sur-Yon and they did well to shrug off this and concentrate on their game.
Coach Dawie Theron said: "Our guys stood firm, made some vital tackles and in the end we clinched it with a great try by Cheslin Kolbe."
"We knew that the French would be passionate and very committed because they had so much to play for.
"They were lifted by a fantastic crowd and gave it their all. However, I am proud of the effort by each of my players because the win is what matter most, and we deserved it in the end," Theron added.
The Junior Boks battled at scrum-time against the French and Theron believes that that is an area that they are going to have to focus on intently heading into their semifinal match against Wales.
"We missed Luhan [de Bruin, suspended prop] and there was some puzzling calls made against us.
"The coaches will go and have a look at the video and try to figure out what went wrong. We are in the semifinals and will give it our best effort in the next match," said Theron.
The French pack made it difficult for the Baby Boks to get the ascendancy according to captain Ruan Steenkamp.
"They disrupted us from the start and forced us into mistakes.
"We could not get the momentum that we wanted but we showed a lot of bravery and heart out there.
"We played much better towards the end, especially during the last ten minutes. I am just relieved that we managed to beat them because they are a dangerous team," Steenkamp mentioned.
With a slight scare in that game against France, the SA U20 side will feel that they need to revisit their game-plan heading into the play-off games.
"We will now regroup and prepare for the semifinal," said Steenkamp.