Argentina U20 claimed a 34-33 victory over the Junior Springboks in the final match of the U20 International Series in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.
Despite threatening comebacks on two occasions after falling 15-0 behind early in the match, the Junior Boks ultimately didn’t have enough to get one over the team hosting this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship.
There were still plenty of positives to take from the game, which effectively served as a final home warm-up before the South Africans embark on a short trip to the UK, where they will play England and Wales to end their preparations.
Wing Marnus Potgieter scored a hat-trick in a fine individual performance, while centre Rikus Pretorius and co-captains Francke Horn and Phendulani Buthelezi continued to lead the side well.
However, the Junior Boks will have to improve their efforts at the set piece, particularly the scrum, where they have struggled throughout the series.
Argentina raced into a 15-0 lead thanks to tries from hooker Pablo Dimcheff and scrumhalf Joaquin Pellandini, as well as a penalty from flyhalf Nicolas Roger.
Both sides were dealt a blow during this period as Junior Springbok lock Emile van Heerden and Argentina prop Francisco Coria were red-carded for punching, which saw the teams being reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the match.
The Junior Boks narrowed the scoreline to 15-12 at half-time as Horn went over from the back of a scrum, before wing Caleb Dingaan dotted down a ball that was toed through by Jaden Hendrikse.
The home side took the lead for the first time in the match when Potgieter scored his first shortly after the break, but Argentina hit back through a penalty try from another dominant scrum, before big No 8 Bautista Pedemonte muscled over to make it 27-19 to the visitors.
Potgieter’s second brought the Junior Boks to within touching distance again, but replacement prop Francisco Minervino scored what turned out to be the winning try for Argentina, despite Potgieter rounding off his hat-trick in the last play of the game.
Junior Springboks – Tries: Francke Horn, Caleb Dingaan, Marnus Potgieter (3). Conversions: David Coetzer (2), Boeta Chamberlain (2).
Argentina U20 – Tries: Pablo Dimcheff, Joaquin Pelladini, penalty try, Bautista Pedemonte, Francisco Minervino. Conversions: Nicolas Roger, Juan Pablo Castro. Penalty: Roger.
Junior Springboks – 15 Qamani Kota, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Jay Cee Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Caleb Dingaan, 10 David Coetzer, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Francke Horn (co-c), 7 Phendulani Buthelezi (co-c), 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Elrigh Louw, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Dameon Venter, 1 Nkosikhona Masuku.
Subs: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Hanro Jacobs, 18 Kudzwai Dube, 19 Emile van Heerden, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Jaco Labuschagne, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Sanele Nohamba, 24 Celimpilo Gumede, 25 James Mollentze, 26 Thaakir Abrahams.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images