Argentina beat the Junior Springboks 19-13 on Saturday to move to the top of Pool C in the World Rugby U20 Championship. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
This was a fully deserved victory for Argentina, who outplayed the Junior Boks in every facet of the game in a physically demanding contest.
The SA U20’s performance was littered with unforced errors, disorganised defending and an ineffective attack, all of which led to two yellow cards. Despite their initial frustration, Dawie Theron’s men managed to stay within striking distance of their opponents on the scoreboard but could not find a way to win.
Argentina’s Domingo Miotti was the destroyer-in-chief as he turned every Junior Boks' mistake into points with his accurate goal-kicking. The flyhalf slotted four penalties and a conversion for a 14-point haul.
Domingo and his direct opponent Curwin Bosch traded penalties twice to keep the sides level at 6-6. But poor decision-making by scrumhalf James Hall in the 35th minute gave Argentina a chance to nick the lead and they did.
Hall recklessly tip-tackled hooker Gasper Baldunciel and was yellow-carded. Argentina set the lineout and attacked down the channel where Hall would have been to score a try through wing Tomas Malanos. Miotti added the conversion to leave South Africa trailing 13-6 at the changeover.
SA U20’s struggles continued after the restart. Their forwards were dominated at the breakdown and conceded a flurry of penalties on the ground. Eight minutes into the half, Miotti added three more points to Argentina’s tally to make it a 10-point game.
The Junior Boks had a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit when Mosolwa Mafuma outstripped Argentina’s defence in pursuit of a grubber kick, but the winger overran the ball and Argentina survived. Soon after, Miotti nailed his fourth penalty.
In the final quarter, SA U20 played with more zest and purpose and their intent was rewarded when loosehead prop Franco van den Berg burst over the line from a driving maul.
That score set up a frenetic, end-to-end finish, with Bosch leading SA U20’s attack and Miotti Argentina’s. But both sides failed to make the final pass count and the match ended in favour of the Junior Pumas.
SA U20 must now beat France in their final pool game to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Junior Springboks – Try: Franco van den Berg. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalties: Bosch (2).
Argentina U20 – Try: Tomas Malanos. Conversion: Domingo Miotti. Penalties: Miotti (4).
Junior Springboks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward (c), 12 Franco Naude, 11 Mosolwa Mafuma, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 James Hall, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Zain Davids, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Eduard Zandberg, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Tango Balekile, 1 Franco van den Berg.
Subs: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jaco Holtzhausen, 19 Ruben de Villiers, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Edwill van der Merwe.
Argentina U20 – 15 Bautistia Delguy, 14 Tomás Malanos, 13 Juan Cruz Mallía (C), 12 Santiago Mare,11 Julián , 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Patricio Baronio, 8 Vicente Boronat, 7 Conrado Roura, 6 Marcos Kremer, 5 Ignacio Calas, 4 Franco Molina, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Gasper Baldunciel, 1 Rubén Ricco.
Subs: 16 Román Pretz, 17 Santiago Pulella, 18 Gonzalo del Pazo, 19 Mariano Romanini, 20 Bautista Stávile, 21 Lautaro Bazán, 22 Teo Castiglioni, 23 Jose Barros Sosa.
Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images