Beaten Baby Boks to bounce back
Beaten Baby Boks to bounce backSHARE
South Africa will look to bounce back from the disappointment of being knocked out of the IRB Junior World Championship when they meet arch rivals New Zealand in the third-place play-off on Sunday.
The Baby Boks suffered the heartbreak of conceding a last-minute try and conversion to be edged out 18-17 by Wales in the semifinal in Vannes, France, on Tuesday.
Coach Dawie Theron said the Junior Boks said Wales executed their game plan better on the day and kept the young South Africans in their own half for most part of the match with accurate kicks.
"We knew they would test us with a kicking game and I must say they did extremely well to frustrate us by finding favourable field positions," Theron said.
"They forced us to run from deep and then defended well, which frustrated us and, which in turn, led to some errors.
"I want to praise the efforts of the boys throughout the tournament and especially in this match.
"They came back twice from behind and in the end it really hurt to lose like that, with a conversion with almost the last kick of the match. I think their flyhalf kept his cool quite well to succeed with that kick," Theron added.
Captain Ruan Steenkamp, who echoed the words of his coach, promised that the Baby Boks would bounce back against the Kiwis ion Sunday.
"We gave it our best effort but on the day it was not enough," Steenkamp said.
"They did their homework on us and never allowed us to create a platform for our backline.
"The boys are extremely disappointed because we are all very proud to represent our country.
"We have one more match left to play [against New Zealand in Vannes on Sunday] and we will lift ourselves and play with pride.
"The defeat will hurt for a while, but we have our next match on Sunday and we will play as best as we can," Steenkamp added.
Lock Irné Herbst, who scored South Africa’s first try, said the Welsh prevented his teammates from gaining the upper hand with some fierce tackling.
"We came back strongly in the scrums and competed well in the line-outs, but they persisted with their tactic to making us turn back with long kicks into our half. We tried our best and on the day it was unfortunately not good enough," said Herbst.