Cape Town - Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was pleased on Friday with
his team’s first hit-out in the lead-up to the World Rugby U-20 Championship as
they defeated the Griffons 24-20 in the sweltering heat at the HT
Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom.
The hosts opened up the scoring, but found themselves under
pressure as the Junior Boks broke away on the scoreboard thanks to four tries.
However, they staged a brave comeback to go down 24-20.
“For our first game, I am very happy with the performance,”
“We certainly saw what we wanted to see. Some of the players put up
their hands, which was encouraging, and our commitment on defence was pleasing
“Obviously there were mistakes, but it was the first
competitive game that we played. In general, however, it was a good performance
on what was a hot afternoon.”
Roux, however, said there was hard work ahead to reach the
standard of play he would like to see his team display in Georgia.
“We haven’t worked much on our first phases, so there is a
lot of work to be done in our lineouts, scrums and at the breakdowns, which is
one of the pillars of our game,” said Roux.
“So those are the main areas we
have to work on this week.”
Griffons flanker Jean Pretorius scored the first
try of the match, which flyhalf Juan Kotze converted. Kotze followed this up
with a penalty goal minutes later to take a 10-0 lead.
The Junior Springboks, however, found their rhythm soon
after and struck back with two tries by hooker Daniel Jooste from rolling
Centre Wayne van der Bank scored the team’s third try seven
minutes before halftime after gathering a pop pass by fullback Gianni Lombard
for a 17-10 lead, which they managed to maintain going into the break.
The Junior Boks picked up where they left off in the second
half with winger Mfundo Ndhlovu touching down the team’s fourth try after two
minutes in thanks to a fantastic break by replacement centre Cornel Smit. This
pushed the team 24-10 ahead.
The Down Touch Griffons, however, fought back strongly by
applying pressure on attack, and their efforts paid off with centre Duan
Pretorius crossing the line to reduce the gap to 24-15.
Replacement wing Calvano King added another try for the
hosts in the dying minutes to reduce the gap on the scoreboard to four points,
but the team managed to sustain the pressure applied by the Griffons to secure
the 24-20 victory.
Junior Springboks 24 (17) - Tries: Daniel Jooste (2),
Wayne van der Bank, Mfundo Ndhlovu. Conversions: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2).
Griffons 20 (10) – Tries: Jean Pretorius,
Duan Pretorius, Calvano King. Conversions: Juan Kotze (2). Penalty Goals: Juan