The Junior Springboks kicked off their warm-up phase for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship on a solid note on Friday with an encouraging 60-19 victory against a Xerox Golden Lions Under-20 Invitational side at Wits University in Johannesburg.
The Junior Springboks scored 10 tries – four in the first half and six in the second half. Toyota Free State wing Mosolwa Mafuma scored four tries for the SA U20s, while the hosts scored three.
Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron was satisfied with the result, but he said there was hard work ahead to improve the areas of their game that were lacking before the international spectacle.
“I am pleased with certain aspects of our game and I think we can take several positives into our matches against Maties and SWD,” said Theron.“The set pieces, and especially our scrums, looked good and I thought we showed good innovation on attack at times.
“But we have to round off our try-scoring chances more effectively going forward, as we left a handful of tries out on the field, and we have to improve our decision-making. We took quick-taps on occasions when we should have kicked for touch and we also forced a few passes that resulted in unnecessary turnovers.
“This could be partly due to fact that some of the players are still young, but I believe the players will show more maturity in their decision-making going forward. This will be essential at the World Championships where will face the best teams in the world.
“On a positive note, however, some of the players really impressed me. Embrose Papier, Cobus Wiese and Ruben de Villiers, who joined the squad late, slotted in well, and some of the player combinations looked good. So I believe we have a solid base to work from going forward.”
The Junior Springboks will face Maties on Tuesday, 17 May, in Stellenbosch in their second warm-up match and will conclude their preparation on Saturday, 21 May, against SWD in Oudtshoorn.
The Junior Springboks, who secured the bronze medal at the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy, will kick off the 2016 international spectacle against Japan on Tuesday, 7 June at the Academy Stadium, before taking on Argentina on 11 June at the AJ Bell Stadium, and France on 15 June back at the Academy Stadium in the pool stages.
Junior Springboks pool fixtures, World Rugby U20 Championship (SA Time):
Tuesday, 7 June, 16h15: South Africa vs Japan (Academy Stadium)
Saturday, 11 June, 19h00: South Africa vs Argentina (AJ Bell Stadium)
Wednesday, 15 June, 20h45: South Africa vs France (Academy Stadium)