The SA U20s ended their 2011 Junior World Champs campaign with an emphatic 104-17 win over Fiji in the 5th-place play-off in Treviso on Sunday.
It was the second time the Baby Boks crossed the century mark in the tournament’s history, with the first occasion happening against USA in 2008. The SA U20s ran riot as they scored 16 tries, with seven of them coming in the first half for a 43-17 lead at the break. Dawie Theron’s men then completed their final match with a convincing second-half display, scoring 61 unanswered points for the win.
Skipper Arno Botha was the star for the Baby Boks as he grabbed a hat-trick. Outside centre Jaco Taute, scrumhalf Pieter Rademan and wing Tshotsho Mbovane also scored doubles in the try-scoring feast while wing Wandile Mjekevu, flanker Nizaam Carr, inside centre Francois Venter and replacement wing Courtnall Skosan, centre Paul Jordaan and flanker Francois Kleinhans finished the rout.
The victory, however, won’t cover the disappointment of a 5th-place finish. This strong Baby Boks side was touted as favourites for the title, but they crashed out of the championship race with a poor 26-20 defeat to England in their final group fixture. This saw them miss out on a semi-final place because of an inferior points difference.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand U20s claimed their fourth consecutive title with a 33-22 triumph over England in the final. Australia finished third as they beat France 30-17 in the 3rd/4th-place play-off.