Cape Town - Junior Springbok captain Salmaan Moerat said although his
team was still hurting from their defeat against France in their final World
Rugby U20 Championship pool match on Thursday, they would rally together and
work harder for Tuesday’s semi-final against England.
The SA U20s will do so with a new team-mate in prop Leon
Lyons, who will join the squad in the south of France on Saturday afternoon
after being called up as an injury replacement for Nathan McBeth, who broke a
finger against France.
“It was a disappointing performance from our side, and as a
squad we are still hurting,” said Moerat.
“That certainly was not the way we wanted to start the game
against France, and in a tournament like this you cannot be on the back-foot
from the start and chase the game.
“But that said we need to look forward to what lies ahead.
We need to keep working harder and try to fulfil our potential.”
Moerat added: “One learns some valuable lessons in a game
like that. So as a captain I would like us to become even tighter as a group
this week and to focus on the next job, which is England.
“We will do our homework on them, prepare well, and be
stronger as a unit.”
With England topping the log standings in the pool stages
with bonus-point victories in all three of their matches, Moerat said they
would pose a completely different to challenge to that which his charges faced
in Worcester on their warm-up tour to the UK.
“We may have played England before, but they will be a much
better side going into the semi-final,” said Moerat.
“They were very successful
in the group stages and they are a quality side, so it is going to be a
different ball game this time.”
South Africa and England will meet in the first semi-final
at Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l'Amitié at 19:00 on Tuesday, while
New Zealand and France will meet at Stade Aime-Giral in Perpignan at 21:00.
The Junior Springboks focused on recovery and match analysis
on Friday, and returned to the training field on Saturday.