Baby Boks take bronze

The SA U20s defeated England 27-22 in the Junior World Championship’s third-place play-off in Rosario.

Winger Nico Scheepers opened the scoring for the South Africans after diving in the corner to score the first try of the match. Fullback Patrick Lambie added the conversion to steer the Boks to a 7-0 lead after eight minutes.

England though hit back five minutes later when winger Marcus Watson broke the Baby Boks’ defence to score his first five-pointer of the game. Flyhalf Freddie Burns, who converted Watson’s try, stretched England’s lead to 14-7 when he scored a converted try in the 23rd minute of the match.

The Baby Boks though hit back two minutes later when Sibusiso Sithole crashed his way over the try line to score his first of two tries on the evening to make it 14-12.

England stretched their lead over the South Africans when Joe Marler scored his side’s third try of the game seven minutes before the break.

However the Baby Boks immediately hit back after the break when Lambie scored South Africa’s third try of the game.

The SA U20s regained the lead in the 17th minute of the second half when Sithole scored his second try of the match. Lambie converted Sithole’s five-pointer to hand the Boks a 24-19 lead.

With 12 minutes remaining in the match utility back Rory Clegg kept England in the game thanks to a penalty kick he converted when the Baby Boks were penalised for offside.

However, the South Africans sealed the victory with seven minutes remaining in the game when Lambie kicked his first penalty of the match to hand the Boks a 27-22 result.

‘We very pleased to come away from this tournament with at least the bronze medal,’ said SA U20 coach Eric Sauls. ‘This was the first time we beat England in the U20 format. The guys showed great courage and character to come from behind and achieve this victory. We were naturally disappointed about our defeats against New Zealand and Australia, but this was an important win as it means that we end the tournament off on a high.’

Meanwhile, New Zealand were crowned U20 champions when they thrashed Australia 62-17 in the final. The Baby Blacks have now won all 15 of their matches since the Junior World Championship was introduced in 2008.