Hosts South Africa have finally ended New Zealand’s dominance of the IRB Junior World Championship after second half tries from scrum half Vian van der Watt and centre Jan Serfontein secured a 22-16 win to the delight of a sold-out (33,2010 fans) Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Friday.
The two sides, who had each had a rocky route to the final with defeats in the pool stages, were separated by just a point after an intense first half, three Handre Pollard penalties for South Africa against a Milford Keresoma try and penalty and conversion from Ihaia West.
Both sides created scoring opportunities before Van der Watt beat his opposite number Bryn Hall to the touch down, but West kept his side in touch with another penalty. A player from each side then saw red before Pollard slotted a drop goal and Serfontein’s try.
New Zealand kept fighting to the finish to prevent the title slipping from their grasp but could only manage a solitary penalty from West, sparking wild celebrations from the South Africans as they became the first to win a world rugby title on home soil since the Springboks at RWC 1995.
The win at Newlands Stadium was extra sweet for the South Africans when Willy Lose announced that the Baby Boks’ Jan Serfontein was to be crowned (by 1 vote) as IRB Junior Player of the Year.
Fans took to the BlitzBokke FaceBook page to express their delight:
Carla Killian SO immensely proud of you guys..had tears in my eyes as you lifted that trophy, as I’m sure most of the country did!! You really did us proud boys! celebrations!
Bianca Benade Baie geluk baba bokkies!! Julle verdien dit, awesome game gespeel julle!!!
Edgar Smokesons Katushabe I am so proud#sheds a tear.
Rejoice Tshitshi Phewa Well done BabyBoks!!! Proud of u!!!
Jackie Anthony Fritz Baie geluk julle!!!!!
Leslynn Hendricks bbbboookkkiiieeeessss!!!!!
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