Junior Bok captain Salmaan Moerat says they are working on improving for their semi-final against England. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Junior Springbok captain Salmaan Moerat says they’re still hurting after their disappointing World Rugby Under-20 Championship defeat to France on Wednesday.

The Junior Boks were completely outplayed in the first half by an on-fire French outfit, and after a number of stunning tries and complete attacking dominance, they led 36-7 at half-time.

While the Junior Boks hardly had any possession in the opening 40, they had more opportunities after the break, and France seemed to have run out of gas, while all the mistakes they made also made it hard for them to replicate that flawless first half performance. Despite the loss, the Junior Boks still qualified for the semi-finals, and Moerat believes they can be better against England.

“It was a disappointing performance from our side, and as a squad we are still hurting,” said Moerat.

“That certainly was not the way we wanted to start the game against France, and in a tournament like this you cannot be on the back foot from the start and chasing the game.

“But that said we need to look forward to what lies ahead. We need to keep working harder and try to fulfil our potential.

“One learns some valuable lessons in a game like that. So as a captain I would like us to become even tighter as a group this week and to focus on the next job, which is England.

“We will do our homework on them, prepare well, and be stronger as a unit.”

The Junior Boks beat England convincingly on their three-match UK tour ahead of the international tournament in the south of France. But despite that, Moerat is expecting a completely different challenge this time. And with good reason. England secured bonus-point victories in all three of their pool games, and that took them to the top of the log.

“We may have played England before, but they will be a much better side going into the semi-final,” said Moerat.

“They were very successful in the group stages and they are a quality side, so it is going to be a different ball game this time.”

South Africa and England meet in the first semi-final at 7pm on Tuesday, while New Zealand and France play in Perpignan at 9pm.


Weekend Argus

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