Canan Moodie scored a brace and Jordan Hendrikse kicked four penalties as the Junior Springboks overcame a valiant Argentina U20 in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.
Gameflow: Playing on a rainy day in Stellenbosch on a very wet Paul Roos pitch, the Junior Springboks came up against arguably their toughest opposition of the U20 international series.
However, a clinical kicking display from debutant flyhalf Hendrikse, tries from Moodie and centre Henco van Wyk, combined with a staunch defensive effort, had the home side claiming their second win in a row.
While the Junior Boks flew into a 10-0 lead in the first half, the Argentinian Pumitas never at any stage let Bafana Nhleko’s team get out of sight. As expected, the visitors gave the Junior Boks a good working over in the scrums and formed some excellent driving mauls, from which both of their tries came.
The SA U20 side took a 17-13 led into the break as Moodie scored his first try after excellent hands from Hendrikse and flank Sasko Ndlovu put him away in the corner. However, Argentina did manage to hit back when they drove a maul 22 metres to allow hooker Bautista Bernasconi to score.
The second half was very much a kicking battle between Hendrikse and Pumitas flyhalf Ramiro Waisberg, who himself had an excellent game off the tee, as the two exchanged penalties.
The Junior Boks seemed to have laid a decisive blow when they opened up a 17-point lead after Moodie finished brilliantly in the corner from an attacking scrum.
However, to their credit, Argentina kept themselves in the game when replacement hooker Martin Vaka scored from a maul, before Waisberg converted his fourth penalty to make it a seven-point game and a tense finale.
Defending in their own 22 in the last couple of minutes, the Junior Springboks kept their nerve and held their discipline to enforce the knock-on before winning a penalty and booting the ball into touch, coming away with a 33-26 victory.
Players that shone: Jordan Hendrikse had a solid outing in his first appearance for the Junior Springboks. The Lions flyhalf kicked three conversions and four penalties to finish with a haul of 18 points. He was typically fearless when it came to contact, both on attack and defence. While his kicking from hand let him down at times, with a couple going straight into touch, it was still a very good debut.
Henco van Wyk was another making his first start for the Junior Boks, after missing the opening match of the series against Georgia. The outside centre showed all what he was about in this match, with some uncompromising tackles on defence and excellent running lines on attack.
Meanwhile, wings Ethan James and Canan Moodie were brilliant in their kick chase and looked dangerous whenever they got on the ball. It was a memorable match for Moodie, who increased his tally for the series to four tries from two games.
Junior Springboks – Tries: Henco van Wyk, Canan Moodie (2). Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse (3). Penalties: Hendrikse (4).
Argentina Pumitas – Tries: Bautista Bernasconi, Martin Vaka. Conversions: Ramiro Waisberg (2). Penalties: Ramiro Waisberg (4).
Junior Springboks – 15 Quan Horn, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Tyler Bocks, 11 Ethan James, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Bradley Davids, 8 George Cronje (c), 7 Siya Ningiza, 6 Sasko Ndlovu, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Simon Miller, 3 Corne Weilbach, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Jan-Hendrik Wessels.
Subs (from): Jacques Goosen, Nolan Pienaar, Sibusiso Shongwe (nominated front row), Raynard Roets, Rynard Mouton, Nico Steyn, Sacha Mngomezulu, Mnqobi Mkhize, Dylan de Leeuw, Izan Esterhuizen, Kian Meadon, Dalvon Blood.