Tue. Sep 29th, 2020

Baby Boks delight at dumping New Zealand out of World U20s

Baby BoksThe Baby Boks battled their way past the junior All Blacks to maintain their unbeaten record at the World u20 Championships in Argentina, booking a place in the semi-finals.

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Baby Boks coach Chean Roux was delighted on Wednesday after his team booked themselves a World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final in Rosario.

The Junior Springboks booked a date with France by securing a 25-17 victory against New Zealand in their final pool match at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario. The victory left the SA Under-20s as the only unbeaten team left in the competition. The Baby Boks qualified in top spot for the semi-finals, which will be played on Monday. France are the reigning World U20 champions.

“I am very pleased,” Roux said of his team progressing to the semi-final.

“It was a great effort by the players. They executed the game plan excellently. We will enjoy it tonight, but there are still two games left, so we need to keep our feet on the ground and prepare for the next game.”

The Baby Boks started strong and fullback Vaughen Isaacs crossed the whitewash in the seventh minute, before second-row JJ van der Mescht scored a second in the 18thminute. Jaden Hendrikse kicked three penalty goals to earn the team an encouraging 19-3 halftime lead.

The contest tightened up in second half as New Zealand responded coming back hard on attack and tightening up their defence. A penalty try for junior All Blacks saw the Baby Boks hold a slender 19-10 lead for most of the half, but two penalty goals by replacement scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba cancelled out New Zealand’s second try, sealing the victory for the South Africans.

Despite the Baby Boks unbeaten status both sides entered the clash knowing that the losers would need to secure at least one bonus point, and ensure that they did not suffer a heavy defeat to advance to the semi-finals, after France lit a fire underneath them with a bonus point in their 47-26 defeat to hosts, Argentina.

Roux lauded the quality of the team’s performance: “We worked hard on our scrums, lineouts and mauls, and that was excellent, but the outstanding part of our game was our defence. The players showed a lot of character and all credit to them for that.”

The coach insisted the Tricolour will provide “tough opposition” in their semi-final.

“We played against France last year and year before, so we will have a look at the games and sit down tomorrow and work out a plan,” said Roux.

“At this stage, however, the important thing is to get the players ready and to ensure that we use every rest day as effectively as possible.”

Scorers:

Junior Springboks 25 (19) – Tries: Vaughen Isaacs, JJ van der Mescht. Penalty Goals: Jaden Hendrikse (3), Sanele Nohamba (2).

New Zealand 17 (3) – Tries: Penalty Try, Lalomilo Lalomilo. Conversion: Fergus Burke. Penalty Goal: Burke.

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