The Junior Springboks broke out of the blocks quickly with their first try, by Vaughen Isaacs (fullback), in the seventh minute. JJ van der Mescht (lock) scored their second try in the 18th minute, while Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf) kicked three penalty goals to earn the team an encouraging 19-3 halftime lead. Full match report here.

The second half was tightly fought as New Zealand came back hard on attack and tightened up their defence, and a penalty try for them saw the Junior Springboks hold a slender 19-10 lead for most of the half, but two penalty goals by Sanele Nohamba (replacement scrumhalf) cancelled out New Zealand’s second try, which sealed the victory for the South Africans.

Both sides entered the clash knowing that the losing team would need to secure a bonus point, while ensuring that they do not suffer a heavy defeat to advance to the semi-finals, after France secured a bonus point in their 47-26 defeat against hosts, Argentina.

“I am very pleased,” Roux said of his team progressing to the semi-final. 

“It was a great effort by the players. They executed the game plan excellently. We will enjoy it tonight, but there are still two games left, so we need to keep our feet on the ground and prepare for the next game.”

Roux lauded the quality of the team’s performance: “We worked hard on our scrums, lineouts and mauls, and that was excellent, but the outstanding part of our game was our defence. The players showed a lot of character and all credit to them for that.”

The SA Under-20 coach said the French will provide “tough opposition” in their semi-final.

“We played against France last year and year before, so we will have a look at the games and sit down tomorrow and work out a plan,” said Roux.

“At this stage, however, the important thing is to get the players ready and to ensure that we use every rest day as effectively as possible.”