The SA Under-20s achieved a hat trick of bronze medals in the IRB Junior World Championship on Monday after they defeated England 27-22 in Rosario.
The Baby Boks came back from a half time deficit 19-12 to record their third victory in the 2010 tournament.
Winger Nico Scheepers opened the scoring for the South Africans after diving in the corner to score the first try of the match. Fullback Patrick Lambie added the conversion to steer the Boks to a 7-0 lead after eight minutes.
England though hit back five minutes later when winger Marcus Watson broke the Baby Boks’ defence to score his first five-pointer of the game. Flyhalf Freddie Burns, who converted Watson’s try, stretched England’s lead to 14-7 when he scored a converted try in the 23rd minute of the match.
The Baby Boks though hit back two minutes later when Sibusiso Sithole crashed his way over the try line to score his first of two tries on the evening (14-12).
England stretched their lead over the South Africans when Joe Marler scored his side’s third try of the game seven minutes before the break (19-12).
The Baby Boks immediately hit back after the break when Lambie scored South Africa’s third try of the game (19-17).
The South Africans regained the lead in the 17th minute of the second half when Sithole scored his second try of the match. Lambie converted Sithole’s five-pointer to hand the Boks a 24-19 lead.
Below: Sibusiso Sithose dives over for South Africa in their match against England
With 12 minutes remaining in the match utility back Rory Clegg kept England in the game thanks to a penalty kick he converted when the Baby Boks were penalised for offside (24-22).
However the South Africans sealed the victory with seven minutes remaining in the game when Lambie kicked his first penalty of the match to hand the Boks a 27-22 result.
England though had one final attempt to snatch victory at the death, but tigerish defence from the South Africans ensured that they ended the game as victors and bronze medal winners in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championships.
“We very pleased to come away from this tournament with at least the bronze medal,” said SA Under-20 coach Eric Sauls. “This was the first time we beat England in the Under-20 format. The guys showed great courage and character to come from behind and achieve this victory. We were naturally disappointed about our defeats against New Zealand and Australia, but this was an important win as it means that we end the tournament off on a high.”
“This third finish in the IRB Junior World Championship is something people need to take into perspective. All teams have upped their games and the standard of rugby has most definitely improved during the last 12 months. This result also means now that the three southern hemisphere teams are the three strongest Under-20 teams in the world.”
South Africa – Tries: Nico Scheepers, Sibusiso Sithole (2), Patrick Lambie; Conversions: Lambie (2); Penalty: Lambie.
England – Tries: Marcus Watson, Freddie Burns, Joe Marler; Conversions: Burns (2); Penalty: Rory Clegg.
Well done, Coach Eric Sauls, the management team and the Springboks!