CAPE TOWN – Despite the Junior Springboks’ poor run of preparatory matches ahead of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship, coach Chean Roux hopes that they took a lot from their UK tour.
At the weekend, the Junior Boks were thrashed 35-8 by an England team missing 10 of their regular squad members that did duty in the U20 Six Nations.
In their previous warm-up match, they suffered a one-point loss in their home fixture against Argentina. And while they managed a 35-31 comeback win in their final warm-up match of the tour against Wales on Tuesday, the Junior Boks should be well aware that they are way off the pace just one month out from the Argentina showpiece.
After their match against Wales, Roux praised his team’s character as they produced a strong second-half fightback at the Vale Resort outside Cardiff.
The Junior Boks scored one try in the first half to Wales’ four, which saw them trail 24-7 at the break, but they staged a dramatic comeback to touch down four times in the second half - with the last try for the win in the dying seconds.
The comeback was impressive, but given all the try-scoring opportunities the team created in the first half, they would have secured a far more convincing victory if they converted all their chances into points, something that’s not a new problem.
“For the players to perform the way they did in the second half after the tough week we had with all the training, gym sessions and no time off was great,” said Roux. “It certainly showed their character.”
“Going into the match the score was not the most important thing for us, this week was all about getting the players to train very hard with no time off, and trying to hang in there during the game. So the fact that we beat Wales in the dying seconds says a lot about the team and their character, which is fantastic.”
The Junior Springboks are at the airport in Birmingham and ready for the journey back to South Africa where they will continue their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Stellenbosch @Springboks pic.twitter.com/gE3dQUN7n6— Junior Springboks (@JuniorBoks) May 1, 2019