The Junior Springboks beat a Free State XV 24-5 in a warm-up match at Shimla Park on Saturday.
The first half was a tight affair in wet conditions, but the Junior Boks broke loose in the second half and scored three unanswered tries.
The hosts struck first in the 20th minute, with Joseph Dweba crossing the tryline from a lineout drive.
The Junior Boks fought back strongly with a series of pick-and-goes on the home team’s tryline, but a knock-on prevented them from scoring in the 26th minute.
Their determined efforts on attack paid off in the 31st minute after Manie Libbok dashed through a gap in the defence, following good pressure from the forwards. His conversion attempt hit the upright, which left the teams tied at 5-5.
The Junior Boks continued to build momentum in the second half, with flanker and captain Nama Xaba crossing the chalk in the 49th minute from a strong shove by the forwards, while his loose trio partner Hacjivah Dayimani broke through a tackle seven minutes later and dashed to the line.
Junior Boks lock Ruben de Villiers scored the team’s fourth try with 11 minutes to play as he gathered a loose ball from a lineout and dived over the line.
'It was a very rewarding victory,' said Junior Boks coach Chean Roux. 'I said from the outset of the camp that the score is not important to us, and that our main focus for the warm-up matches was to get tough competition to prepare us well for the World Rugby U20 Championship.
'The Free State XV match was excellent in that regard because it was a challenging match in wet and windy conditions, which exposed us to different playing conditions.'
Roux took several positives from the clash.
'Our defence was very good and with that comes character. We also played well in the lineouts and we kept going for the full 80 minutes, which is pleasing because it shows that our conditioning is paying off.
'It is nice to see things coming together, but we still have a lot of work to do before the tournament.'
Free State XV – Try: Joseph Dweba.
Junior Springboks – Tries: Manie Libbok, Nama Xaba, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ruben de Villiers. Conversions: Libbok, Jean-Luc Cilliers.
Free State XV – 15 Michael van der Spuy, 14 JW Jonker, 13 Ali Mgijima, 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Ryno Eksteen, 9 Ruan van Rensburg, 8 Steven Meiring, 7 Junior Pokamela, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 5 Hilton Lobberts, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Danie Minnie.
Subs: 16 Abri Coetzee, 17 Kevin Stevens, 18 Sibabalo Quma, 19 Ntokozo Vidima, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 JP Smith, 22 Jarik van der Walt.
Junior Springboks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Wandisile Simelane, 13 David Brits, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Ilunga Mukendi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben de Villiers, 3 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Subs: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Wikus Groenewald, 18 Carlű Sadie, 19 Ewan Coetzee, 20 Muller Uys, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Rewan Kruger, 23 Jean-Luc Cilliers, 24 Wayne van der Bank, 25 Daniel Jooste, 26 Boan Venter.