Ju­nior Boks claim third in Ge­or­gia

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

THE JU­NIOR SPRING­BOKS se­cured a bronze-medal fin­ish af­ter out­per­form­ing France in the third­place play­off game of the World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship in Ge­or­gia yes­ter­day.

Af­ter los­ing in the semi-fi­nals to Eng­land, the Baby Boks pro­duced a 37-15 score­board replica of the Spring­boks’ win over France in Dur­ban on Satur­day as they scored five tries to France’s two at the Mikheil Meskhi Sta­dium in Tbil­isi.

Lock Ruben van Heer­den, re­place­ment back David Brits, No 8 Juarno Au­gus­tus and hooker Jo­han Grobbe­laar all crossed the white­wash for a try (Grobbe­laar scored a brace), while fly­half Manie Lib­bok added three con­ver­sions and two penal­ties to the score­board. France got onto the score­board through tries by hooker Peato Mau­vaka and fly­half Bap­tiste Couil­loud, who also added a con­ver­sion and a penalty.

And al­though they would have wanted to go for gold, it was an im­proved re­sult from the 2016 tour­na­ment, where the Ju­nior Boks ended in fourth place in Manch­ester.

The Ju­nior Boks can also take heart from the at­tack­ing play they’ve pro­duced through­out the cham­pi­onship, es­pe­cially in their 11-try 72-14 smash­ing of Ar­gentina in the pool stages, while in­di­vid­u­als like Damian Willemse, Lib­bok, Cur­win Bosch, Au­gus­tus and Jean­luc Cil­liers pro­duced stand-out per­for­mances dur­ing their five-match cam­paign.

Au­gus­tus, who im­pressed with his phys­i­cal­ity and try-scor­ing abil­ity (he scored seven tries in the com­pe­ti­tion), was re­warded for his top form through­out the tour­na­ment with a World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship Player of the Tour­na­ment nom­i­na­tion, with the loose for­ward go­ing up against Eng­land cap­tain and No 8 Zach Mercer and his team­mate wing Gabriel Ibitoye, and New Zealand fly­half Ti­aan Fal­con and full­back Will Jor­dan for the pres­ti­gious award.

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