The South Africa Under-20 team wrapped a three-match series against the touring Argentina side with a 13-5 win in the third and final encounter at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, on Saturday evening. Last week, the home team ran out 51-19 winners, while the midweek clash ended in a 23-all draw.
Dawie Theron, the SA Under-20 coach was pleased with the clean sweep and also the progress his team made during their two-week training camp in Cape Town.
“I am pleased with the performance today, especially our ability to keep to our structure. We focussed on a lot of things in this match and although the score suggest a close affair, I must say that I am satisfied with progress we made between the opening match and this final clash,” said Theron.
Theron and the SA selectors must now reduce the enlarged training squad to a final squad of 28 players for the IRB Junior World Championship, to be hosted at two venues in Cape Town during June. SARU will announce the squad on Wednesday.
The SA youngsters managed to pin the visitors in their own half in the opening 17 minutes without advance on the scoreboard and had a mere penalty to show for their territorial advantage. Flyhalf Tony Jantjies slotted over a penalty from 30 metres out after an earlier attempt failed (3-0).
Argentina showed a big improvement on their earlier two performances in Stellenbosch and there was a marked improvement in their discipline at the breakdowns.
They managed to transfer play for 12-minute passage of play but they did not threaten the SA tryline. They did, however, surrender a turn-over on the SA 22-metre line six minutes before the break, and it proved a costly lapse. SA worked the ball wide and eventually Sharks winger Paul Jordaan made the most of an overlap as he raced in from almost 50 metres to score the first try of the match.
Jantjies added the conversion to for a 10-0 lead, which SA kept intact until halftime.
The Los Pumitas started second-half play with a far greater sense of urgency and a strong surge by the forwards down the middle set the platform for their side to launch raids into the SA 22-metre area.
Lock Huan Cruz Guillemain looked set to round off one of Argentina's sorties but the SA cover defence forced him out at the corner flag. There was more pressure in the ensuing minutes by the visitors but in their eagerness to crack the SA defence their tight head prop Matias Diaz was sin binned for foul play in the 47th minute.
However, SA could not take advantage of playing with an extra man mainly because they were still struggling to strike up a measure of cohesion in their movements. The pressure took its toll on the SA side when Guillemain crashed over for an unconverted try after a drive from a line-out in the 68th minute (10-5).
The 5-point setback seemed to induce some spark in the South Africans’ game and they started running the ball whenever the opportunity presented itself. In the end, the SA side had to settle for a Jantjies penalty three minutes from the end (13-5) to secure a deserved victory.
South Africa: Try: Paul Jordaan. Conversion: Tony Jantjies. Penalty: Jantjies (2).
Argentina: Try: Huan Cruz Guillemain.