CAPE TOWN - Junior Springboks coach Chean Roux says he’s pleased with the character his team showed in their 48-23 victory against Georgia in Stellenbosch on Friday evening.
The Junior Boks crossed the try line six times and got one penalty try in the encounter, while Georgia managed two five-pointers at the Danie Craven Stadium.
It was the South Africans’ second warm-up game as they prepare for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in France, which kicks off on May 30.
The hosts overcame a tight first half - which saw them lead 17-13 at the break after running in three tries - after Georgia got the first points on the scoreboard through a penalty goal and added a converted try and another penalty kick.
Georgia briefly took the lead in the second 40, but the Junior Boks ran in five second-half tries to seal the deal against their pool opponents.
“This match was great preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Roux. “Georgia came out firing in the first half, and that is exactly what we wanted.
"With a whole lot of personnel changes for this Test it took the players a while to get into the match, but it laid the foundation for the guys that came on to really excel and it is pleasing that we got almost 50 points on the board.
“I thought we improved on our scrums, which is pleasing as we worked hard on that, and the tempo that we played at is also something we can bank. I think it will set us in good stead for the future.”
After flyhalf Tedo Abzhandadze’s penalty kick in the third minute, the Boks were awarded a penalty try shortly afterwards to take the lead.
Manuel Rass went over in the 16th minute to extend their lead to 12-3, but the visitors capitalised late in the first half when Abzhandadze visited their in-goal area.
Abzhandaze got his second penalty of the afternoon and brought the margin to within four points before half time.
The Georgian flyhalf added another penalty in the second half and got another try to give his side a 23-17 lead, but that’s where it ended for the visiting team.
The Junior Boks bounced back as Wandisile Simelane, Schalk Erasmus and Lubabalo Dobela made an impact off the bench to finish off back-to-back tries, which pushed the hosts into a 38-23 lead with minutes left on the clock.
Ruan Nortje and Sihle Njezula added two more tries to take their try tally to seven and secure a 48-23 victory.
The Junior Boks will next face Scotland, Wales and England on their UK tour before the international spectacle kicks off in the south of France.
Junior Springboks 48 (17) – Tries: Penalty Try, Manuel Rass, David Kriel, Wandisile Simelane, Schalk Erasmus, Lubabalo Dobela, Sihle Njezula. Conversions: Lyle Henricks (3).
Georgia 23 (13) – Tries: Tedo Abzhandadze (2). Conversions: Tedo Abzhandadze (2). Penalty goals: Tedo Abzhandadze (3).