CAPE TOWN – While Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux described his team’s execution in a number of areas as “excellent”, it’s their defence that he praised the most following a 25-17 victory over New Zealand.
The team overcame three yellow cards at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario to book a World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-final spot against defending champions, France.
The win saw the Junior Boks emerge from the pool stages as the only unbeaten team in the competition, and thus qualified in top spot.
A strong start was always going to be key against New Zealand after the Junior Boks started slowly against Scotland and Georgia (although they beat both convincingly), and in their decider on Wednesday night, they broke out of the blocks quickly to take a 19-3 halftime lead. In the second 40 the South Africans held a 19-10 lead for most of the half, but solid defence and two penalties by replacement scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba was enough to knock New Zealand out.
The losing team would have needed to secure a bonus point to advance to the semi-finals, after France secured a bonus point in their 47-26 defeat against hosts Argentina.
“I am very pleased,” Roux said of his team progressing to the semi-finals.
“It was a great effort by the players. They executed the game plan excellently. We will enjoy it tonight, but there are still two games left, so we need to keep our feet on the ground and prepare for the next game.”
The semis take place on Monday.@WynonaLouw