Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux remained humble on Thursday as his team romped to an 11-try 72-14 bonus-point victory against Argentina in their final pool match at the World Rugby U20 Championship at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi to book a semi-final berth.
The SA U20s produced a solid all-round performance to outplay Argentina, with hooker Johan Grobbelaar and winger Gianni Lombard each crossing the tryline twice.
“We treated this match as a quarter-final and the players responded very well,” said Roux.
“All credit must go to them. I think they delivered a fantastic performance. But we have achieved nothing yet. We have already started with the planning for the next game, with the opposition depending on what happens between Australia and England.”
Asked if the victory gave the team confidence with the semi-final in mind, Roux said: “I think so. The players have worked hard. But this means nothing if we do not win the next match.”
Grobbelaar opened up the scoring with two tries in four minutes, first from a rolling maul and then a stolen lineout, to push the side 12-0 ahead in the opening 10 minutes.
Argentina struck back with a try from a pick-and-go minutes later, and this was followed by Junior Bok centre Wandisile Simelane receiving a yellow card for tripping a player.
This, however, did not affect the Junior Boks’ rhythm as winger Gianni Lombard received a smart pass from centre Damian Willemse to score the team’s third try, while back-to-back tries by Willemse and winger Yaw Penxe shortly before the break compliments of good handling skills and innovative play, saw the team inflate their score to 31 points.
Argentina were only able to add one try in the second quarter by winger and captain Tomas Malanos, who took advantage of an overlap out wide, which saw them trail 31-14 at the break.
“Los Pumitas” were dealt a blow in the opening seconds of the second half with Franco Molina being sin-binned, and the SA U20’s capitalised on this with No 8 Juarno Augustus crossing the tryline.
Roux’s team continued to run riot as Bosch added a penalty goal, while Lombard, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, and replacement backs Francois de Villiers and Jeanluc Cilliers added further tries in a rewarding second half to finish the match with an impressive 11 tries and a memorable 72-14 victory.
Junior Springboks 72 (31) – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar (2) Gianni Lombard (2), Damian Willemse, Yaw Penxe, Juarno Augustus, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Francois de Villiers, Jeanluc Cilliers. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (7). Penalty: Bosch (1).
Argentina 14 (14) – Tries: Felix Luna, Tomas Malanos. Conversions: Tomas Albornoz (2).