at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
The veritable mixture of pride and passion fuelled South Africa's Baby Boks in the semifinals after beating England in their final IRB Junior World Cup Pool C match in Cape Town on Tuesday night.
Following their earlier shock defeat at the hands of Ireland, the SA Under-20 outfit were underdogs going into the match against the hitherto unbeaten England.
Dawie Theron, the SA coach, was close to tears as he reflected on a magnificent bonus-point win which propelled them into the semi-finals.
“They played with a lot of pride as the way went about to grind out a win was unbelievable. I'm so proud of these guys,” said Theron.
“We stuck to our guns, and we realised that we had to score four tries.
“The guys said it was do or die and they went out there with a promise to each other that they'll fight to the bitter end, and that's what they did.”
Theron said the team never became disheartened when things were going against them and praised the officials for their control of the game.
“All thanks to the referee as well, because it was a very fair game today and we're very happy with the outcome,” he said.
Flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit was a late inclusion following the withdrawal of injury-hit captain Wian Liebenberg and was one of the stand-out performers.
“Before the tournament, we said that before we play England we would give him a chance,” said Theron.
“But our hand was forced because of the earlier withdrawal of Wian.
“I must say he came up for us and he was unbelievable at (No) seven.
William Small-Smith, stand-in captain and a try-scorer in the match, seemed blown away after the side's terrific performance.
“I'm really proud of my team,” said Small-Smith.
“I think we came in here with our backs to the wall but we knew what we had to do, and we did it.
“In the second half we just kept on doing what we were doing and sorted out our first-phase attack.”
Small-Smith said the players drew great inspiration from the crowd support in the second half.
“I remember being a young boy and sitting at Loftus or Ellis Park and when you hear the people start singing, then you know that they know a win is coming,” he said.
SA play Argentina and New Zealand play Wales in Sunday's semifinals at Newlands. – Sapa