CAPE TOWN – While the Junior Boks’ 43-19 scoreboard demolition of Scotland in their World Rugby Under-20 Championship opener on Tuesday was impressive, it wasn’t a perfect performance.
They did get a lot of things right, though, and they are going to have to build on those aspects - while fixing the ones they didn’t ace in Rosario - before they meet Georgia tomorrow (3.30pm kickoff) and New Zealand on Wednesday in their remaining pool games.
So, here are four weapons Chean Roux’s team should use against the Georgians.
The South Africans’ scrum was solid in their opening match, and they put the Scots under good pressure with the set-piece. Their lineout, though, didn’t function as well, and it was well-exposed by the opposition.
Scotland, on the other hand, used theirs to their advantage, and the lineout and maul are areas the Junior Boks are going to have to fix if they want to maximise their attacking chances going forward. Back to their scrum - calling the shots when it’s time to pack down will again be key tomorrow, especially given the opportunities the team created from first-phase ball.
The inside ball
In the Scotland game, four of the Junior Boks’ six tries came after inside-ball magic, so I don’t think any explanation is needed as to why they should continue in that regard come tomorrow. I’m not saying they should use it to death, but if it ain’t broke... right?
The Junior Bok bench had a lot to do with how the team managed to completely break away against Scotland in the 65th minute - sprinting to a 43-19 romp after leading by only three points at the start of the last quarter (22-19). The Junior Bok replacements perfectly displayed the modern role of the bench. And if they can be as instrumental in sustaining the pressure again this weekend, Georgia are going to have to come at the SAs with something quite special.
The new Blitzbok - who made his Junior Bok debut against Scotland - was relatively quiet during the encounter. He didn’t see much of the ball as the team kept it tight a lot and when they did run it, most of the action took place around the fringes and up the middle. But this weekend should be different.
Davids made his Springbok Sevens debut in Hong Kong this year, and it didn’t take him long to show his quality.
He featured in all their matches in that tournament, as well as at the Singapore Sevens where he scored a try in the Cup final against Fiji. The Blitzboks won that tournament and Davids was named Player of the Final after a 20-19 victory. He showed the spark he can add to a team’s attack with the Blitzboks, and he should do it again this weekend.
There are some things that are just hard to defend, and Davids with some space and the Gilbert firmly in his mitts is one of ‘em.
So let’s hope he gets to sprinkle some of that Sevens spice on the Racecourse Stadium pitch.@WynonaLouw