Cape Town - Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux praised his team's fighting spirit as
they outplayed France 37-15 to win the bronze medal at the World Rugby
U20 Championship at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi on Sunday.
As it happened: Junior Boks v France
The Junior Boks overcame a tight first half in
which they trailed 8-7, to deliver a strong second-half showing in which
they crossed the tryline four times, with hooker Johan Grobbelaar
touching down twice, to outplay their opponents.
They backed this up with a solid defensive effort
in which they limited France to a consolation try in the dying minutes
from a quick tap to take their try tally to two for the match, and to
secure the convincing victory.
"The players showed great character to come out in
the second half the way they did in what marked their fifth match in the
tournament," said Roux.
"We didn't play perfect rugby, but we stuck to
our structures and one or two things we worked
on before this match gave us momentum.
"All the credit must go to the players, they played very well. This is a special group of players."
With the team having putting in the hard yards to
prepare for the tournament since March, Roux said the victory was well
"It is going to sad to get on the plane and say our
goodbyes when we return home," said Roux. "But the players really
deserve this win for all the hard work they put in over the last few
France came out firing and applied pressure on the
Junior Boks from the outset as they retained possession and put together
phases, while they gained yards on attack with their smart off-loads.
But the SA U20's absorbed the pressure well
and managed to shut them out on defence.
The Junior Boks struck first with lock Ruben van Heerden scoring a try against the posts in the 15th minute from a pick-and-go, which Manie Libbok converted to hand Roux’s team a 7-0 lead.
France hit back with a try by hooker Peato Mauvaka
from a rolling maul, and flyhalf Baptiste Couilloud slotted over a
penalty goal six minutes before halftime to force their way into an 8-7
lead, which they held onto going into the break.
The Junior Boks reclaimed the lead shortly after
the break as hooker Johan Grobbelaar received the ball in space and
dashed to the tryline, with Libbok’s conversion and a subsequent penalty
goal pushing them 17-8 ahead.
They built on this with a stunning intercept try by
replacement centre David Brits, which was followed by tries by
Grobbelaar and No 8 Juarno Augustus, while another penalty goal by
Libbok in between inflated their lead to 37-8.
France forced their way over the tryline with three
minutes left compliments of Couilloud, but this was too little too late
and they had to settle for the 37-15 defeat.
Tries: Ruben van Heerden, Johan Grobbelaar (2), David Brits, Juarno Augustus
Conversions: Manie Libbok (3)
Penalties: Libbok (2)
Tries: Peato Mauvaka,
15. Jeanluc Cilliers, 14. Yaw Penxe, 13. Stedman Gans, 12. Damian Willemse, 11. Gianni Lombard, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Embrose Papier, 8. Juarno Augustus, 7. Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 6. Zain Davids, 5. Ruben van Heerden, 4. Salmaan Moerat, 3. Carlu Sadie, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 1. Gerhard Steenekamp
Substitutes: 16. Kwenzo Blose, 17. Daniel Jooste, 18. Wikus Groenewald, 19. Reinhard Nothnagel, 20. Muller Uys, 21. Francois de Villiers, 22. David Brits, 23. Wandisile Simelane
15. Romain Buros, 14. Lucas Tauzin, 13. Theo Millet, 12. Pablo Uberti, 11. Faraj Fartass, 10. Baptiste Couilloud, 9. Arthur Coville, 8. Selevasio Tolofua, 7. Baptiste Pesenti-Compagnoni, 6. Alexandre Roumat, 5. Mickaël Capelli, 4. Florian Verhaeghe (captain), 3. Zakaria El Fakir, 2. Peato Mauvaka, 1. Georges-Henri Colombe Reazel