A Suleiman Hartzenberg double in addition to tries from Nico Steyn, Cameron Hanekom and substitute Tiaan Lange carried the SA U20s over the line, while John Stewart, captain Emeka Ilione and Conor Oresanya registered for a spirited England side.
Key player: Duran Koevort
Patient and potent in equal measure, Duran Koevort stole the show in Verona. In an arm wrestle of a first half, the Junior Bok fullback proved the difference and played a crucial role in setting South Africa on the path to victory.
His pre-assist for Steyn’s try came after a scintillating bit of footwork and he was involved again in the build-up to Hanekom’s score at the start of the second period.
While captain and flyhalf Mngomezulu was perhaps more eye-catching and daring on the ball, Koevort provided control, both in attack and defence, steering his side to victory in a game decided by fine margins.
Play of the game: Mnogmezulu’s magical kick
If Mngomezulu’s cross-field kick is a sign of things to come over the next two weeks, then rugby fans are in for a real treat.
Just four minutes into the opening game of the tournament, the SA flyhalf’s pinpoint kick which seemed destined to bounce into touch ballooned off the Payanini Center turf and into the grateful hands of Hartzenburg.
Whether it was deliberate or not, it was a touch of genius and certainly gave Mngomezulu the confidence to try and dictate proceedings with his right-foot.
Moments later he tried an audacious drop goal from some 40 metres out and had pulses raising inside the stadium with each step and pass he attempted.
Steyn’s audacious pass between his legs prompted just as many gasps from the stands and might have had the edge over Mngomezulu’s nudge had it led to a try.
Key talking point: Hanekom’s disallowed try
With South Africa growing into the contest midway through the first half, No 8 Hanekom seemed to have turned pressure into points. But after a thorough look at the pitchside monitor, referee Eoghan Cross disallowed the try, with Steyn deemed to have blocked off a potential tackle attempt.
The cocktail of an anxious wait, confused crowd and suspenseful music as Cross considered his decision recreated a scene familiar to fans of many Premier League football clubs.
But the verdict only stirred the South Africans, who were determined to capitalise on their dominance having worked so hard to turn the tide after England’s bright start.
Steyn’s try on the stroke of half-time gave the Junior Boks the momentum going into the second period, and that was the boost they needed to assert themselves after the break.
Key moment: South Africa’s double strike
Arguably it was a case of not one defining moment, but two in this match. With the clock ticking down in the first half, Donovan Don stepped his way through the England backline and after a delayed pass from Koevort, Steyn had the simplest of finishes.
Their next score, five minutes into the second half was a carbon copy. Koevort and Don were again involved, running from deep, before Mnogmezulu teed up Hanekom to gallop home.
Those 10 points either side of half-time took South Africa out of reach and left England with too much to do in the closing stages.
The Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHm6BFw-9JRA1CMekNLwMg