Cape Town - The Junior Springboks clinched their two match international
rugby series 2-0 against Argentina Under-20 after beating Los Pumitas 39-28 in
Rosario on Saturday with prop Jan van der Merwe helping himself to a hat-trick
of tries in the first half.
South Africa now return home from a successful day tour
after edging out the home team 25-22 on Tuesday in Santa Fe. The two teams used
the series as final warm-up exercise for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship
in Italy next month.
On Saturday at the beautiful Club Gimnasia Stadium in
Rosario, the Junior Boks raced into a commanding 25-6 halftime lead thanks to a
trio of tries by front ranker Van der Merwe. Argentina struggled to match the
visitors’ powerful forward surges and could only reply with two penalties.
The South Africans scored two more tries in the second half
through Leolin Zas (wing) and Joseph Dweba (replacement hooker). However, they
had to show great determination on defence against Los Pumitas, who stormed
back with three tries in the second stanza.
Captain and number eight, Hanro Liebenberg, led with example
with ball in hand and also did sterling work on defence. The Junior Boks
dominated the scrums, were supreme in the lineouts and mauled powerfully which
resulted in three tries.
Juan Cruz Matilda, Santiago Resino and Ernesto Olmedo dotted
down for the home side while centre Emiliano Bofelli kept his side in the match
with a good kicking display, slotting over three penalties and a conversion.
Liebenberg praised his side’s display in defence, especially
in the second half when Los Pumitas fought their way back into the match.
“We played some good rugby in the first half and used of our
scoring opportunities to good effect. Argentina came back strongly in the
second period and really tested our defence. I am thrilled the guys pulled it
through and that we won the series 2-0 in the end,” said a satisfied
Junior Springbok coach, Dawie Theron, said is never easy to
come away with a 2-0 series win over Argentina.
“We started much better than on Tuesday and even while we
were in control in the first half, I knew they would storm back. They played
with passion and determination after the break and our players had to show real
“This group showed a lot of fight and a great willingness to
grind out a win, despite the intimidating atmosphere,” explained Theron. The
South Africans fly back on Sunday morning and arrive home on Monday afternoon
Tries: Juan Cruz Matilda, Santiago Resino, Ernesto Olmedo
Conversions: Emiliano Bofelli, Domingo Miotti
Penalties: Bofelli (3)
Tries: Jan van der
Merwe (3), Leolin Zas, Joseph Dweba
Conversions: Brandon Thomson (4)
Penalties: Tomson (2)