Baby Boks bully their way to final
Brenden Nel
June 17, 2012

The South African under-20 team reached the final of the IRB Junior World Championship with a comprehensive 35-3 victory over Argentina at DHL Newlands on Sunday.

In a performance that will please coach Dawie Theron, the Baby Boks bullied Los Pumitas for the entire game, physically outmatching them up front and beating them for speed out wide.

While the Argentineans had bravery, they never had much to match the clinical execution the Baby Boks had found in their game on Sunday and which will be necessary for the final.

South Africa will now face New Zealand, who got revenge for their pool defeat at the hands of Wales by comprehensively beating the Welsh 30-6 in the other, also one-sided semifinal.

The biggest worry though for the Baby Boks was a host of injuries, which saw them lose, amongst others winger Paul Jordaan in the opening minutes and captain William Small-Smith near the end with potentially bad injuries that may see them miss the final.

In fact, so bad was it at times that the Baby Boks ended the game with two forwards playing in the backline and might want to rethink their team selection ahead of the final on Friday.

But it was almost one-way traffic from the start for the home team, who signaled their intent early by coming close in the opening minutes.

After Henry Pollard opened the scoring, it was Argentina who would rue their chances as Sebastien Poet missed two kickable penalties that would have given them the lead.

With the bit firmly between their teeth, the Baby Boks rumbled up close, then put impressive midfielder Jan Serfontein through a hole to score the opening try on 21 minutes.

Thirteen minutes later it was livewire hooker Mark Pretorius who crossed from a lineout drive, with the Argentineans struggling to keep up with the Boks' dominance.

With Jordaan off the field, his replacement Raymond Rhule had a wonderful evening, and scored the first of his two tries just before the break after Pollard put him through a beautiful gap at pace to outstrip the defence.

The winger certainly made an immediate impact, and along with Tshotsho Mbovane on the other wing, Serfontein, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Shaun Adendorff and Fabian Booysen were in red-hot form throughout.

At 22-0 up at the break, the Baby Boks looked like posting a big score, but a much more composed Argentinean team emerged in the second half, and while they were still outgunned, they managed to dominate the majority of possession as the match wore down to its conclusion.

Poet finally slotted a penalty for the Pumitas, but it wasn’t long before Pollard repeated the pass to Rhule for the replacement winger to dart through and score his second.

With the substitutes on, the Bok play got more erratic, and as the rain pelted down they made more mistakes, with only a penalty apiece to Pollard and his replacement Tony Jantjies completing the scoring.

But it mattered not for a side who had risen from the ashes of the Ireland defeat. They had dusted themselves off and surged back with a purpose.

Now only one massive game stands between them and the trophy, and they will be confident of going all the way.


SA UNDER-20: Tries – Jan Serfontein, Mark Pretorius, Raymond Rhule (2). Conversions: Handre Pollard (3). Penalties: Pollard (2), Tony Jantjies.

ARGENTINA UNDER-20 – Penalty: Sebastien Poet.

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