Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux lauded his team for powering their way to a 38-14 bonus-point victory against Georgia – with Manie Libbok and Wandisile Simelane each crossing for two tries – in their second pool match at the World Rugby Umder-20 Championship at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi on Sunday.
The SA U20’s overcame a tightly-fought first quarter against the tournament hosts in front of a hostile crowd and managed to outscore them three tries to one in the first half. They built on this with a solid second-half showing, in which they added three tries to take their total for the match to six.
“Our goal was to secure the win with a bonus point, so I am definitely pleased.” said Roux.
“It was tough out there with the heat and the passionate crowd. The Georgians played well in the beginning and made it tough for us at times as they tried to slow down the game while we tried to speed it up, but we will take the bonus point win and move onto the next match against Argentina.”
Zooming in on the game, Roux said: “We scored a few fantastic tries. We have a very talented backline that can score tries from anywhere on the field.“The character the team showed on defence to shut out Georgia after several phases at times during the match was also outstanding. This is a special group of players, and we can build on this performance going into the match against Argentina.”
Junior Springboks No 8 Juarno Augustus crossed the chalk for the team’s first try from a pick-and-go in the 16th minute, which fullback Jeanluc Cilliers converted to hand the team a 7-0 lead.
Georgia fought back strongly and managed to get close to the South African’s tryline on a few occasions after camping there for several minutes, and their efforts paid off with a converted try by prop Ushangi Tcheishvili to level the scores.
The Junior Boks, however, hit their straps minutes later, and the points followed as centre Simelane danced his way through the defence, while flyhalf Libbok touched down for the team’s third try four minutes before the halftime hooter thanks to an innovative chip-and-chase.
The SA U20’s built on this with more attractive attacking rugby in the second half, which saw winger Yaw Penxe cross the tryline after a strong run.
Simelane followed as he scored the team’s fifth try in a fine showing of fantastic inter-passing and support play to power their way to 31-7 lead.
Georgia struck back with a try by replacement back Giorgi Gogoladze, who touched down from a grubber kick, which they successfully converted to take their score to 14 points, but this was soon cancelled out by Libbok who gathered a stunning pass by centre Damian Willemse.
A yellow card for SA U20 replacement flanker Hendre Stassen in the dying minutes reduced the team to 14 men, and minutes later Zain Davids was red-carded, while the Georgians also received a yellow card. But despite sustained pressure by the hosts on the tryline, they were unable to add to their score and had to settle for the 38-14 defeat.
Junior Springboks 38 (19) – Tries: Juarno Augustus, Wandisile Simelane (2), Manie Libbok (2), Yaw Penxe. Conversions: Jeanluc Cilliers (2), Curwin Bosch (2).
Georgia 14 (7) – Tries: Ushangi Tcheishvili, Giorgi Gogoladze. Conversions: Gela Aprasidze (2).