Junior Boks need action replay

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:48
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The Junior Springboks will have to beat hosts New Zealand for the second time in three matches if they are to progress to the Junior World Championship Final.
 

The Junior Springboks will have to beat hosts New Zealand for the second time in three matches if they are to progress to the Junior World Championship Final.

The South African Under-20 side defeated a spirited Samoa 21-8 in Pukekohe on Tuesday to book a semifinal slot against the Baby Blacks in Albany on Sunday after they finished unbeaten and top of Pool C.  
 
The New Zealanders outplayed Scotland 54-7 to take the fourth and last semifinal spot after finishing as the best-placed second team.
 
South African captain Handré Pollard said that their win over New Zealand last week will count for little when they meet the hosts again in Albany.

"If you want to win the tournament then you must play and be able to win against any team. Our first match against them is history and we will now have to prepare very thoroughly for the semifinals," he said.

The Junior Bok skipper added that they will have to lift their game considerably after a inaccurate performance against Samoa on Tuesday.

"We weren't at our best tonight and the boys know that and we will have to lift our performance for the  semis," said Pollard.

The Junior Springboks had to come from behind to defeat Samoa, who led 8-7 at halftime thanks to a try by centre Nathaniel Apa and a penalty by flyhalf William Talataina Mu. No.8 Aidon Davis scored for the Junior Boks after several missed opportunities.
 
South Africa were again strong in the set pieces and particularly in the scrums, where they pushed the physical Samoans often several metres towards their tryline. Centre Andre Esterhuizen and wing Sergeal Petersen each scored a try in the second half to secure a hard win for the 2012 JWC winners.

South Africa had plenty of possession and created several chances but handling errors and also ferocious defence by Samoa prevented the Junior Boks from a more convincing win.
 
Coach Dawie Theron said afterwards it was not their most convincing performance: "We must give Samoa credit for making it a huge contest. They battled all the way and made it difficult for us to build momentum.
 
"We spoilt three clear cut chances to score, but we would have learnt a lot from this win in very difficult conditions. If you look at the close score between England and Argentina then you can see that the weather definitely played a huge role in the performances of the teams today," he added.

England scrapped through 17-16 against Argentina while Wales defeated France 13-3, a result which eliminated both teams from a semifinal spot, and ironically opened the door to New Zealand to snap up the last semifinal place.
 
Defending champions England squeezed past Argentina and will face Ireland who managed to qualify for their first-ever semifinal by beating Fiji convincingly.

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Team P W D L Pts
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Wales U20 3 1 0 2 7
Georgia U20 3 0 0 3 1
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Australia U20 3 1 0 2 7
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France U20 3 1 0 2 6
Japan U20 3 0 0 3 0