The Junior Springboks continued their preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 with a hardworking 60-14 victory over Argentina Under-20 on Tuesday afternoon at Stellenbosch.
Last week, the South Africa Under-20 side won the first of three encounter 78-31 in Saldanha Bay. The third and final clash between the two sides takes place on Saturday at 16h00 at the City Park Stadium in Crawford, Cape Town. The Junior Boks piled on 38 points in the second half after leading 22-0 at halftime thanks to tries from captain and fullback, Jesse Kriel, Malcolm Marx (hooker), Cyle Brink (flank) and Dan Kriel (centre).
In the second half, the South Africans added six more tries through Neil Maritz(left wing, 2), Corniel Els (replacement hooker, 2), Jean-Luc du Preez (flank) and Wilco Louw (prop). Dawie Theron, the Junior Boks’ coach, made eleven changes from the side that played in Saldanha. The visitors also played with much more focus and intensity and the home team had to work hard for each point.
South Africa Under-20 lifted the tempo in the latter part of the second half, when Theron made several changes from the bench. This extra momentum helped the team to finally pull away from Argentina, who threatened with a courageous comeback midway through the second half. Echardt Rodrigo (left wing) and Schulz German (right wing) scored a try each for the visitors to reduce the deficit at one stage to 34-14. Afterwards, Theron said although he was happy with the second consecutive win, he was however less impressed with the squad’s overall performance.
“We knew they would be much more stronger in the second match, but we made it difficult for ourselves out there. We did not create enough quick ball to release our strong backline, so that is something we will have to work on in the next few days before our last match,” explained Theron. He also worried with the inaccurate goal kicking, which only improved after Jaco van der Walt came on as a second half replacement.
Despite these shortcomings, Theron added: “A huge plus factor is the fact that we could give everyone in the squad a run out during the these two matches. This is vital because some of the players will not be available for the last match because of Vodacom Cup commitments this weekend.”
The final encounter on Saturday starts at 16h00 at City Park.