SA under20 coach Eric Sauls insists that his SA Under-20s have put their 36-7 semi-final defeat against New Zealand behind them as they prepare for their third place playoff match against England which kicks off on Monday at 21h45 (RSA time).
The Baby Boks will be aiming to secure a hat trick of bronze medals in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship after they managed to achieve this feat in their previous two tournaments in Wales and Japan.
“The guys know exactly how important this game is for us,” said Sauls.
“We’ve had to quickly wipe the disappointment of the New Zealand defeat away and shift our attention to England. The guys know that they let themselves down with that performance against the Baby Blacks and for the majority of this squad, it will be their last opportunity to play international rugby at Under-20 level.
“It’s about finishing this tournament on a high, the players owe it to themselves. We’ve never ended lower than third, and it would be a disappointment for us to be the first South African side to come back from an Under-20 World Championship having achieved fourth position.”
The Baby Boks achieved two victories in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship against Tonga (40-14) and Scotland (73-0), but also secured two defeats against Australia (42-35) and New Zealand (36-7).
SA Under-20 fullback Patrick Lambie is currently the leading points’ scorer in the 2010 tournament with 63 points, nine more than New Zealand captain Tyler Bleyendaal with England’s Tom Homer (50) and Australia fly half Matt Toomua (47) the next best. He also scored the most points in a single game in Argentina with 25 against Tonga. Australian scrumhalf Nicholas White and England fullback Tom Homer added 23 in their matches against Tonga and Argentina respectively.
Meanwhile the International Rugby Board (IRB) announced a shortlist of four nominees for the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2010.
The two finalists and hosts Argentina are represented in the shortlist with New Zealand captain Tyler Bleyendaal joined by teammate Julian Savea, Australia centre Robbie Coleman and Argentina flyhalf Ignacio Rodriguez Muedra.