The persistent rain that fell over the last 24 hours in the Western Cape resulted in a mud bath at the Markötter Stadium, but that didn’t deter Bafana Nhleko’s team from delivering a very composed performance against the heavier Georgians.
The SA Under-20s deserve a pat on the back for doing the basics well, despite being under pressure upfront, sticking to their structures, using their opportunities and defending well.
The conditions basically rendered any form of expansive rugby null and void, but despite being on the back foot in the early exchanges, the Junior Boks had their tails up and took at well-deserved 14-0 lead at the break.
Dalvon Blood (wing) scored a stunner of a try after streaking down the left hand touchline in the 27th minute, while Henco van Wyk (centre) rounded off right at the end of the first half after a period of sustained pressure on the Georgian try-line, with the Junior Boks showing great patience with their pick-and-drives.
What made the second try even more impressive, is that Rynard Mouton (flanker) was in the sin bin at that stage after he had collapsed an earlier maul with the Georgians hot on the attack. But the South Africans stood firm, often with their backs to the wall.
The Junior Boks, whose lineout was brilliant all afternoon, started the second half where they left off in the first and immediately had the Georgians under pressure, which resulted in two yellow cards to the visitors in the 51st and 52nd minutes.
The South Africans made this numerical advantage count when first George Cronje (replacement loose forward) and Nico Steyn (scrumhalf) went over for great tries to put the home team up by 28-0 with just under 20 minutes to go.
Cronje barged over from a dominant scrum, while Steyn was at hand to take an inside pass after a brilliant run from Andre-Hugo Venter (replacement hooker).
The SA replacements made a big difference to ensure the tempo was lifted and the Junior Boks punished the tiring and ill-disciplined Georgians late in the game as Cronje and Van Wyk crossed for two more Junior Springbok tries as the young South Africans grew in confidence and showed a lot of composure to finish off their opponents.
Junior Springboks 42 (14) – Tries: Dalvon Blood, Henco van Wyk (2), George Cronje (2), Nico Steyn. Conversions: Kian Meadon (6).