A late try saw the Junior Springboks beat Argentina 25-22 in Santa Fe on Tuesday.
Los Pumitas led 15-10 at half-time after dominating possession and territory while playing with a strong wind in their favour. They scored two tries and a penalty, while the Junior Boks answered with a converted try from fullback Michael Jaer and a penalty from flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg to stay within striking distance despite their many unforced errors.
The South Africans used their dominance in the set pieces to much better effect in the second half, scoring another two tries, through winger Grant Hermanus and No 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, to edge out the hosts in front of a passionate crowd.
'We had a long journey coming here, had only one full training session and a bus trip of more than two hours to the stadium today,' said Junior Boks coach Dawie Theron. 'I told the players this match would be a huge test of character for them and Argentina did exactly what we expected, making it extremely difficult for us to play our normal game. They were strong upfront and tackled as if their lives depended on it.
'We were much more composed and calm [in the second half] and that allowed us to eventually fight our way back successfully. I’m pleased with the effort and the character of the guys, but we now also know the areas where we must work on for the next match.'
Argentina U20 – Tries: Christian Bartolini, Jose Deheza, Emiliano Bofelli. Conversions: Bofelli (2); Penalty: Bofelli.
Junior Boks – Tries: Michael Jaer, Grant Hermanus, Jean-Luc du Preez. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2). Penalties: Stapelberg (2).
Argentina U20 – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Santiago Resino, 13 Tomás Granella, 12 Bautista Ezcurra (c), 11 Eugenio Achilli, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Lautaro Bazán Vélez, 8 Ernesto Olmedo, 7 Lucas Gasparri, 6 José Deheza, 5 Ignacio Larrague, 4 Vittorio Rosti, 3 Cristian Bartoloni, 2 Ignacio Calles, 1 Javier Díaz.
Subs: 16 Gaspar Baldunciel, 17 Eduardo Bello, 18 Nicolás Ocello, 19 Benito Paolucci, 20 Patricio Baronio, 21 Ignacio Albornoz, 22 Matías Ferro, 23 Julián Domínguez.
Junior Boks – 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Grant Hermanus, 13 JT Jackson, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Marco Janse van Vuuren, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Rikus Bothma (c), 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Abongile Nonkontwana, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Mzamo Majola, 17 Jan van der Merwe, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Warrick Gelant.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images