Eugene Eloff’s defending champion Baby Boks bowed out of the IRB U19 World Championship with barely a fight as they succumbed to the bigger, faster and more clinical English team 45-18 on Thursday evening.
South Africa needed to win by 72 clear points to advance ahead of Wales and England into the tournament play-offs, but instead produced an eratic performance that lacked cohesion and penetration and were soundly beaten by an England side who just did everything better than the defending champs.
The South Africans fell meekly off tackles and showed absolutely no innovation when on attack. Only captain Petrus Vermeulen managed to show some heart, but it was only in the last ten minutes with the match well and truly gone.
England scored six tries to two and had their pack to thank for a completely dominating display over the Bok eight. South Africa also showed poor discipline, picking up two yellow cards, but it could have been double that if the referee had not been in such a forgiving mood.
The second – to Francois Steyn for a petty professional foul – saw the Boks leak three tries. England flyhalf Daniel Cipriani controlled the game beautifully, until he sustained a serious neck injury in the 60th minute. By then though the Boks were well beaten and the talented flyhalf had done his job to perfection.
The English were simply a class above and at times it looked like boys against men on the field.
Wales had earlier beaten Romania 70-0 to put themselves in with a chance of qualifying for the play-offs. England needed a bonus point to leap-frog the Welsh who were in fourth after France beat Argentina 19-12 to end second on the log.
New Zealand (14 points), France (13 points) and Australia (11 points) had qualified. England joined them in the last four, level with the Aussies on 11 points, but with an inferior points difference.
Try: Christopher Juries, Petrus Vermeulen
Con: Conrad Hoffmann
Pen: Hoffmann 2
Try: Tom Youngs, Ross McMillan 2, Iain Grieve, Danny Care, David Doherty
Con: Daniel Cipriani 3
Pen: Cipriani 2, Adam Greendale 1
By Andrew Hollely