Despite a number of lessons learnt, Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was satisfied with his team’s 50-19 victory in a high-paced warm-up match against the Varsity Cup Dream Team at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Tuesday evening.
The SA U20s outscored the Varsity Cup side by seven tries to three in an exciting match, which was evenly poised at 21-19 at the break.
“It was a great test for us and it was good to play against players who have played a number of games this season,” said Roux.
“Our warm-up matches during the second training camp were against teams that didn’t play many games before, so this was an excellent test for our players.”
Commenting on the lessons learnt in the match against the Varsity Cup Dream Team, Roux said: “In our lineouts, there were one or two technicalities that we got wrong, which we will work on in the next couple of weeks.
“I think the work rate of our forwards and our scrummaging were good and we played our rugby in the right areas of the field, which was another positive.”
The Junior Boks struck first in the fourth minute with lock Ruben van Heerden crashing over the tryline following a solid showing by the forwards, which fullback Gianni Lombard converted to take a 7-0 lead.
The Varsity Cup Dream Team fought back strongly with winger Duncan Saal using his pace to work his way through the defence and score their first try, which flyhalf Tinus de Beer converted to level the scores.
The Dream Team built on this with a try by captain Craig Barry in the 22nd minute and added another four minutes later compliments of lock Loftus Morrison after Junior Boks were reduced to 14 men as prop Carlű Sadie received a yellow card for infringing at a breakdown. This pushed the Varsity Cup Dream Team 19-7 ahead.
This lead, however, was short-lived as an encouraging display by the Junior Bok forwards paved the way for Salmaan Moerat and Van Heerden to touch down, which handed the team a narrow 21-19 lead going into the break.
They built on this immediately after the break with flanker Muller Uys crossing in the corner after a scrum, while Lombard added a penalty minutes, later to push the SA U20s to 28-19.
The Junior Boks added a fifth try early in the fourth quarter compliments of flyhalf Damian Willemse after spreading the ball out wide while the Varsity Cup Dream Team were reduced to 14 men. This handed the Junior Springboks a 36-19 lead.
The team ensured that they finished the clash strongly with Nama Xaba and Manie Libbok adding further tries in the closing minutes after finding a gap in the defence and dashing through to extend their lead to 43-19.
Junior Springboks 50 (21) – Tries: Ruben van Heerden (2), Salmaan Moerat, Muller Uys, Damian Willemse, Nama Xaba, Manie Libbok. Conversions: Gianni Lombard (6). Penalty Goal: Lombard.
Varsity Cup Dream Team 19 (19) – Tries: Duncan Saal, Craig Barry, Loftus Morrison. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (2).