Baby Boks draw England … again

The Baby Boks will have England in their Junior World Championship group for a third year in a row.

The Baby Boks and England have created a rivalry at U20 international level.

The two teams have been drawn into the same pool since 2011. That year, England sneaked in for a 26-20 victory against the strongest SA U20 squad in history (which included the likes of Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Eben Etzebeth, Jaco Taute, Paul Jordaan, Wandile Mjekevu and Johan Goosen), eliminating the latter from the title race in the process.

This year, the Baby Boks overturned a nightmare start to the campaign on home soil (which saw a opening loss to Ireland in Stellenbosch) and completed a 28-15 comeback bonus-point victory over the Poms to advance to the semi-finals. This after trailing 3-0 at half-time. It proved to be their most crucial win en route to winning the title.

In previous campaigns, England have beaten the SA U20s at the semi-final stage in 2008 (28-16) and 2009 (40-21). The Baby Boks beat England 27-22 in the third-place play-off in 2010.

Defending champions South Africa and England will also face hosts France and promoted nation USA (who replaced Italy after winning the Junior World Rugby Trophy this year) during the league phase in 2013.

Meanwhile, four-time champions New Zealand will contend for a play-off place against Ireland and Australia in their group. Wales will be expected to top Pool C, but will get tough competition from Argentina, who surprised many in this year’s tournament.

Matches will be played at the Stade Henri Desgrange in La Roche-sur-Yon (Pool A fixtures), the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes (Pool B) and the Stade Pascal Laporte in Nantes (Pool C). The tournament will run from 5-23 June.

Junior World Championship rules state that the three group winners and best runners-up will qualify for the semi-finals.

Pool A
South Africa
France
England
USA

Pool B
New Zealand
Ireland
Australia
Fiji

Pool C
Wales
Argentina
Scotland
Samoa