Junior Boks run riot as they flatten Argentina
IN THE BUILD-up to the Junior Springboks’ final pool match against Argentina, coach Chean Roux was wary of the opposition’s “fast-paced game” and their scrummaging, but once the Junior Boks got going, he had no reason to worry. None whatsoever.
Roux needed no reminding of the areas that caused a few headaches against the hosts last week – the scrums, the unforced errors and, at times, the line-outs.
But all those areas that were such a big concern against Georgia were nowhere to be seen at the Avchala Stadium yesterday.
In their last round-robin game of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships in Georgia, the Baby Boks produced a top performance and scored 11 tries to the Argentinians’ two to book a semi-final spot with a 72-14 victory.
The South Africans were superb at scrum time, their line-outs were first-class, and in open play they were simply unstoppable.
The return of flyhalf Curwin Bosch certainly boosted the team, and he showed just why he is such a force with pinpoint line kicks and try-creating cross-kicks and grubbers, while he also contributed seven conversions and a penalty kick.
Another exciting prospect in centre Damian Willemse also thrilled as he showed off a few hot offloads and even hotter stepping.
Left wing Gianni Lombard’s performance was another standout among plenty of great ones, and his perfect chip kicks, his running and his stepping bagged him a brace of tries.
But it wasn’t just the three of them that shone.
It was an all-round performance by everyone on the field.
The communication, the support play, the set-piece domination, the lethal counterattacking and the attacking potency – all of those factors made it a tough time for the Argentinians.
And when the whistle went for the second half kick-off, well, the Junior Boks were even better and took complete control of the game.
The Junior Boks’ line-out was superb early on, and both their first tries resulted from the set-piece.
In opposition 22, hooker Johan Grobbelaar produced a brilliant, long line-out throw, and the Baby Boks’ forwards delivered a powerful forward drive to get the No 2 over for the first try of the match, and after a try by right wing Yaw Penxe was disallowed, the Junior Boks capitalised on a way-offtarget throw by Argentina, and Grobbelaar snatched the ball up at the back of the line-out to dive over an open try line.
The Baby Boks also showed great variation at the line-out, and that was evident when No 8 Juarno Augustus scored his fourth try of the tournament from the set-piece later in the game.
There was beautiful play by Roux’s team after Grobbelaar’s brace, and the Junior Boks really showed their enterprise.
But they also had to work hard on defence to keep the Argentinians out early, and tries to prop Alejandro Luna and wing Tomas Malanos were good rewards for the possession and territory they enjoyed in the first 30 minutes that belonged to neither team.
At half-time, the Junior Boks were 31-14 ahead and they had five tries on the scoreboard to Argentina’s two.
However, the only job the Argentinians had in the second half was to do damage control as the South Africans ran in six more tries (they also had a couple disallowed).
There was certainly no confusion as to who ran the show in Tbilisi.
In fact, the only moment when there was a speck of uncertainty was when Embrose Papier, Bosch and Manie Libbok dotted the ball down for their eighth try together. Yep, all three of them. It’s safe to say that the Junior Boks have now finally gotten revenge for losing out on a bronze medal in Manchester against Argentina last year.