Junior Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok scored twice against Georgia on Sunday. Photo: BackpagePix

If the Junior Boks manage to replicate some of the moments they produced in their 38-14 win over Georgia in their second match of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship, their chances of making it all the way to the final certainly can’t be too bad.

There were some outstanding moments that resulted in brilliant tries by the Junior Boks on Sunday, but it was by no means a perfect performance in Tbilisi.

They made a number of unforced errors and both sides were guilty when it came to the scrums not being able to stay up, while the lineouts were also a problem for both teams.

But the Junior Boks mixed up their imperfect performance with perfect moments to get the win.

The Junior Boks got the first try after their forwards took the ball through a number of phases, and No 8 Juarno Augustus eventually found a gap in the Georgians’ sturdy defence and powered through.

The Georgians crossed the line shortly afterwards through Koba Jimsheleishvili, but the roaring home crowd’s cheers quickly turned to booing when the television match official confirmed that the skipper lost control of the ball after some good pressure by Junior Bok flyhalf Manie Libbok in the tackle.

After a period of set-piece after set-piece, the hosts brought some excitement into the game when left wing Davit Meskhi produced some individual brilliance as he broke through tackles and side-stepped his way past defenders, before producing a beautiful offload and showing top support play to spark great interplay that eventually sent prop Lasha Tabidze over for the try.

And for a period thereafter, things went south for the South Africans as the Georgians’ defence put them under good pressure, while their lineout work and unnecessary kicking away of possession didn’t help their cause.

Georgia’s kicking game also seemed to do the trick in terms of piling even more pressure on the visitors.

But Chean Roux’s team upped their game after that, and they did so in a proper way when outside centre Wandisile Simelane sidestepped his way past three defenders to go over for the try. 

Fullback Jeanluc Cilliers added the extras to take the score to 14-7.

And the Baby Boks didn’t stop there. After Simelane’s try, Cilliers sparked a great counter-attack with a neat chip kick inside his own 22, and after a series of kick-aheads, pivot Libbok scooped the ball up and effortlessly ran in to score for a 19-7 halftime advantage.

After a solid start to the second half, Georgia were made to pay for conceding a number of soft penalties when replacement prop Guram Gogichashvili was sin-binned.

After winning a scrum contest, the South Africans got their fourth try when scrumhalf Embrose Papier put wing Yaw Penxe into space with an offload, and Penxe showed his strength by breaking through two defenders to score.

The Junior Boks impressed again when Simelane got his second and rounded off stunning team play that saw the ball travel through numerous pairs of hands and running lines that penetrated Georgia’s defence for a fifth try.

Georgia got a chance to score in the third quarter when Tedo Abzhandadze put in a beautiful grubber for Giorgi Gogoladze to run on to and dot down. Aprasidze made no mistake with the conversion to make it 14-31.

The Baby Boks got another try when inside centre Damian Willemse created magic with his feet as he stepped past defenders to sending a perfectly-timed offload to Libbok to score, with replacement back Curwin Bosch adding a second conversion.

The Junior Boks will face Argentina on Thursday in their final round-robin match.

Point-Scorers

Junior Boks 38 – Tries: Juarno Augustus, Wandisile Simelane (2), Manie Libbok (2), Yaw Penxe. Conversions: Jean-Luc Cilliers (2), Curwin Bosch (2).

Georgia 14 – Tries: Lasha Tabidze, Giorgi Gogoladze. Conversions: Gela Aprasidze (2).

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