‘Soft moments’ cost Junior Boks

Junior Springboks assistant coach Louis Koen says the team learned 'harsh lessons' from their 24-22 semi-final loss to England.

South Africa led 22-17 with four minutes to go, before a missed touch-finder and some poor defence allowed England U20 captain Zach Mercer to score the match-winning try.

The Junior Boks will now face France, who lost 39-26 to New Zealand, in the third-place playoff on Sunday (13:30 SA time).

VIDEO: Highlights of Junior Boks vs England

'We had opportunities against England, but we also had soft moments and could not put them under enough pressure to convert into points,' Koen said.

'I believe we have all learned a lot from this experience. There were harsh lessons learned in the match, but I know that all of us will take it to heart and we will be better for it in the future.'

Koen stressed that the campaign was not over yet and said the team still had an opportunity to finish the tournament on a high note, by securing the bronze medal.

'We need to continue doing what we have been doing up to now in the lead-up to our final match,' said Koen.

'We believe in our structures, and we are on the right track and growing as a team. Our forward play, especially, has been phenomenal, and when our backline fires they are exceptional. So we have to go back to the drawing board and improve.

'We still have a lot to prove and to play for, so once we put the England match behind us, we will lift our heads, be positive and look forward to the France game. All of these players want to do justice to the Springbok jersey.'

Photo: World Rugby

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Simon Borchardt