Sanele Nohamba scored a last-gasp try to help the Junior Springboks overturn a 17-point half-time deficit and claim a comeback 35-31 victory over Wales U20 in Cardiff on Tuesday.
While there is still plenty for the Junior Boks to fix, the win will come as a massive confidence boost for a team that had lost to Argentina and England U20 in successive matches.
It looked as if the visitors would be set for a third straight loss when they went into the break 24-7 down, with co-captain Francke Horn grabbing their only try of the opening half.
However, they came out strong in the second half and immediately applied pressure on the hosts, who lost a player to a yellow card after giving away a penalty try.
A big finale was set as Wales extended their lead through Ryan Conbeer’s second try, before hooker Dameon Venter and replacement flyhalf Jaden Hendrikse scored to bring the Junior Boks to within four points of the lead.
With seconds left on the clock, scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba went over to allow the Junior Boks to steal the win.
‘For the players to perform the way they did in the second half after the tough week we had with all the training, gym sessions and no time off, was great,’ commented coach Chean Roux. ‘It certainly showed their character.’
‘We worked very hard on the scrums and lineouts this week and we got some rewards there, such as the penalty try from a pushover.
‘Going into the match, the score was not the most important thing for us. This week was all about getting the players to train very hard with no time off, and trying to hang in there during the game. So the fact that we beat Wales in the dying seconds says a lot about the team and their character, which is fantastic.’
Wales U20 –Tries: Ryan Conbeer (2), Aneurin Owen, Ioan Davies, Lennon Greggains. Conversions: Cai Evans (3).
Junior Springboks – Tries: Francke Horn, penalty try, Dameon Venter, Jaden Hendrikse, Sanele Nohamba. Conversions: Nohamba (4).