Torrents of rain didn’t stop the Junior Boks from Victory at the U20 International Series over Argentina at Newlands Stadium on Monday, bringing our youth side to an impressive hard fought 27-9 victory over the visiting team in the final leg of the competition.
In a second attempt, Waiseberg successfully drives and kicked into the competition with a penalty goal bringing the Junior Boks to a 3-6 lead in the first half. Henko Wyk scores his first debut try in a U20 International competition, maintaining the lead of the team. With rainy wet conditions the Junior Boks applied an immense amount of pressure on the visitors, cleaning perfectly and driving rucks well into their territory where Waisenberg penalty goal straight down the line pushes the Junior Boks into 8-9 lead.
A standout performance from Bobby Alexander with the support of Ethan James, both displaying an immense amount of skills talent at 38 minutes brought in a score of 13-9. Second half sees a try scored from the Junior Boks side via a maul, Andre Hugo brings his team into the lead and Mngomezulu’s conversion set the tone for 20-9.
“There is immense gratitude and relief in our squad for these matches having taken place and we can never thank Georgia, Uruguay and Argentina enough for travelling here in these tough times,” said Nhleko.
“We were not sure whether the tournament was going to take place until quite recently so when it did, it pulled together an amazing effort from our squad, but also from all involved in arranging and executing this tour.”
Nhleko said he was very proud of the progress the squad had showed over the period.
“Judging on our performance against Argentina today, we have really shown great improvement, especially considering that these boys have hardly played rugby in the last 18 months. They learned from the last time out and we were much better in certain areas of the field. The drier field also allowed us to use our backs a bit more and we could outflank them in the later stages today.”
“The big difference was that we failed to keep up the pressure in that first game, but today we were much better, although we still made a lot of mistakes in the first half. Out set piece also put them under pressure.”
Nhleko thanked his management and praised the maturity showed by the players.
“Everyone really contributed over this last three months, while the players showed great dedication to give up so much of their time,” he said.
“It is not easy to be so focused when you are a 20-year-old and have to spend time in a bubble, but the squad really stuck to their mission and job at hand. They had many early mornings, hard days on the field and long days without any idea of when they would play again, so this was a massive effort from them. For them to be standing here, taking in the moment of how far they have travelled and doing that at such an iconic venue is wonderful.”
There was immense celebration as the youth squad performed exceptionally well – both in training and competition. The players will return to their respective unions for their duties, following their SA Rugby Academy training and the U20 International Series.
Source: Fatima Said and SA Rugby Communications