Junior Boks’ blitz sinks Georgia

The Junior Springboks beat Georgia 48-23 at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Friday.

The hosts scored three first-half tries to lead 17-13 at half-time. The visitors briefly hit the front after the break, but five second-half tries secured a convincing victory for South Africa.

The Junior Boks claimed a convincing 55-14 victory in the first warm-up match against Georgia last week and will face them again in the pool stage of the U20 World Rugby Championship.

The visitors struck first on Friday as flyhalf Tedo Abzhandadze kicked a penalty goal, but their lead was short-lived as the hosts were awarded a penalty try following a high tackle on the tryline. Centre Manuel Rass then scored in the 16th minute after sustained pressure on attack.

A lack of concentration from the Junior Boks on defence saw Abzhandadze score a try, but the hosts struck back shortly after through wing David Kriel.

Abzhandadze closed the gap to four points just before half-time as he knocked over his second penalty goal.

The flyhalf kicked another penalty early in the second half and then grabbed his second try after some elusive running up-field, which he converted to give his team a 23-17 lead.

But the Junior Boks bounced back as replacements Wandisile Simelane, Schalk Erasmus and Lubabalo Dobela crossed the line to make it 38-23.

The SA U20s finished the match on a high as Sihle Njezula scored to take their try tally to seven.

‘This match was great preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,’ said coach Chean Roux.

‘Georgia came out firing in the first half, and that is exactly what we wanted. With a whole lot of personnel changes for this Test, it took the players a while to get into the match, but it laid the foundation for the guys who came on to really excel and it is pleasing that we got almost 50 points on the board.

‘I thought we improved on our scrums, which is pleasing as we worked hard on that, and the tempo that we played at is also something we can bank. I think it will set us in good stead for the future.’

The Junior Boks’ next assignment will be their UK tour where they will face Scotland, Wales and England.

Junior Springboks – Tries: Penalty try, Manuel Rass, David Kriel, Wandisile Simelane, Schalk Erasmus, Lubabalo Dobela, Sihle Njezula. Conversions: Lyle Henricks (3).
Georgia – Tries: Tedo Abzhandadze (2). Conversions: Abzhandadze (2). Penalty goals: Abzhandadze (3).

Junior Springboks – 15 Muller du Plessis, 14 David Kriel, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Sihle Njezula, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Jack Hart, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Ryno Pieterse, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Ben-Jason Dixon, 4 Ruan Nortje, 3 Sazi Sandi (c), 2 PJ Botha, 1 Tiaan van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 PJ Steenkamp, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Wandisile Simelane.

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt