England progressed to the World Rugby U20 Championship final with a 28-20 win against the Junior Boks in Calvisano, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
After a poor first-half performance, in which they received two yellow cards, the Junior Boks just couldn't make any headway in the second stanza as England advanced to a third straight final.
England, who failed to top their pool and qualified for the semi-finals as the best ranked runners-up, did well to nullify the Junior Boks' pack of forwards and thus blunt their main attacking weapon, the scrum. The defending champions led 18-6 at the break courtesy of two penalties by flyhalf Rory Jennings and two tries, one by No 8 James Chisholm, and a penalty try that Jennings converted.
Ill-discipline and poor handling didn't help the Junior Boks either and they had to compete with 14 men for 20 minutes in the first half after captain Hanro Liebenberg and No 4 lock Jason Jenkins were both sin-binned for high tackles. Flyhalf Brandon Thomson kept the scoreboard ticking over for his side with two penalty goals.
England extended their lead early in the second half with another penalty before outside centre Nick Tompkins scored under the posts for a commanding 22-point lead. Junior Boks coach Dawie Theron made a host of changes, but his charges just couldn't cut down the error-rate.
They managed to score two late tries through replacement Malcolm Jaer and inside centre Daniel du Plessis to add some respectability to the scoreline, but it was scant consolation in a match where they were second best from the outset.
England will meet New Zealand in the final on Saturday, after the Baby Blacks scored six tries to thrash France 45-7 in the first semi-final.
Junior Springboks – Tries: Malcolm Jaer, Daniel du Plessis. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (2). Penalties: Thomson (2).
England – Tries: James Chisholm, penalty try, Nick Tompkins. Conversions: Rory Jennings (2). Penalties: Jennings (3).
Junior Springboks – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Rikus Bothma, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Jan van der Merwe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Malcolm Jaer.
England – 15 Aaron Morris, 14 George Perkins, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Max Clark, 11 Howard Packman, 10 Rory Jennings, 9 James Mitchell, 8 James Chisholm, 7 Will Owen, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Will Witty, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Ellis Genge.
Subs: Subs: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Sebastian Adeniran-Olule,18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Will Homer, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Piers O’Conor.
Photo: Roger Sedres/Image SA