The new Racecourse Stadium in Rosario, Argentina saw the Junior Springboks start their World Rugby U20 Championship with a win against Scotland.
World Rugby U20 Championship
Junior Springboks 43 (17) – Tries: Francke Horn, Jaden Henrdrikse (2), JJ van der Mescht, Sanele Nohamba, Kudzwai Dube Conversions: Hendrikse (3), Nohamba (2) Penalty goal: Hendrikse
Scotland 19 (12) – Tries: Murphy Walker, Penalty Try, Cameron Anderson Conversion: Ross Thompson
There were a few players who showed promise. Sharks lock JJ van der Mescht played a prominent role in open play. Fellow Shark, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse showed a lot of attacking and kicking promise, albeit with a need to be more careful with his decision making. Western Province inside center Rikus Pretorius also looks like a player with a promising future ahead of him. Free State flyhalf James Mollentze looks to be a great runner with ball in hand
The Baby Boks scrum was impressive, if a little inconsistent. Their line-out performance was very disappointing. The Scots used this to their advantage and put them under pressure at every opportunity. The Scots also easily defended the Baby Boks driving maul and there is a lot of work to be done there.
Poor decision making
Some of the Baby Boks decision making was also poor. Their line-out was struggling. When they were awarded a penalty a few meters away from the Scottish tryline, they continued to pursue the line-out option instead of the scrum.
Adding to this, the Baby Boks over-exuberance showed itself when they had the Scottish under serious scrum pressure in front of their own posts. Instead of milking that pressure, they opted for a quick tap penalty which produced no points.
In real terms, the Baby Boks performance was adequate and no more. They played against a Scottish side that lost against Italy, Ireland, France and England in the Six Nations U20 tournament. Their only victory was against Wales. The Baby Boks will have to make a major step up to be serious competitors in the 2019 edition of the World Rugby U20 Championship.
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