The Junior Springboks beat New Zealand 40-30 to clinch the bronze medal at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Beziers on Sunday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
It was South Africa’s seventh bronze medal in the tournament’s 11-year history.
The Juniors Boks struck first when Tyrone Green pounced on an erroneous pass by the New Zealanders to score the opening try in the second minute. But the Baby Blacks came back strongly as South Africa’s defence continued to be a horror show.
New Zealand established a 25-14 lead at half-time courtesy of tries by influential inside centre Harry Plummer, Jay Renton and Waimana Rielinger-Kapa.
The Junior Boks’ second try came when prop Sazi Sandi burrowed over from a surging lineout drive after New Zealand were penalised for playing Gianni Lombard off the ball.
It was a totally different ball-game in the second half, as the South Africans squeezed the life out of their opponents.
There were four unanswered tries the way of South Africa, scored by Green, lock Ruan Nortje, prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye and the competition’s leading scorer Wandisile Simelane, who played in his preferred outside centre position. Simelane’s effort was a great team try as they ran 99m straight from the kick-off to score.
New Zealand had the final say when Caleb Clarke dotted down in the last minute, but by then the result had been determined.
Junior Boks – Tries: Tyrone Green (2), Sazi Sandi, Ruan Nortje, Wandisile Simelane, Asenathi Ntlabakanye. Conversions: Gianni Lombard (5).
New Zealand – Tries: Jay Renton, Harry Plummer, Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Caleb Clarke. Conversions: Plummer (2). Penalties: Plummer (2).
Junior Springboks – 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Sihle Njezula, 10 David Coetzer, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Phendulani Buthelezi, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Salmaan Moerat (c), 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Alulutho Tshakweni.
Subs: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Ruan Vermaak, 20 Dian Schoonees, 21 Jack Hart, 22 Lubabalo Dobela, 23 Manuel Rass.
New Zealand – 15 Ngane Punivai, 14 Bailyn Sullivan, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Jay Renton, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Tom Christie (c), 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, 4 Laghlan McWhannell, 3 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, 2 Ricky Jackson, 1 Oliver Norris.
Subs: 16 Flynn Thomas, 17 Sione Asi, 18 Suetena Asomua, 19 John Akau’ola Laula, 20 William Tremain, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Scott Gregory, 23 Jamie Spowart.
Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images