Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Junior Boks out of World Rugby U20 Champs after England loss

Going into the game the Junior Boks knew exactly what they needed to do to progress to the semis, but it proved to be too much.


The Junior Boks saw their hopes of reaching the World Rugby U20 Championship semifinals dashed after they suffered a tight 17-12 loss against England U20s in their final pool match at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

Playing in monsoon-like conditions, after torrential rain fell throughout most of the game, both teams struggled but still served up an entertaining encounter.

It was a bit of revenge for England who were beaten in the U20 champs third placed playoff by the Junior Boks last year, while the hosts will be bitterly disappointed to fall out of the competition after finishing third in their pool.

Going into the game the Junior Boks knew exactly what they needed to do to progress to the semis, which was to win with a bonus point and by 13 points without allowing England a losing bonus point, but that proved to be far too much for them as they were instead eliminated.

The start of the match belonged to the Junior Boks and after dominating possession and territory early on they were rewarded with the opening try of the game in the sixth minute as captain Zachary Porthen crashed over from a pick and drive from close range, converted by flyhalf Liam Koen.

It was then England’s turn to take charge, with a long spell of possession and territory ending with them equalising as captain Finn Carnduff forced his way over from close range, while inside centre Sean Kerr added the extras to even things up at 7-all after 27 minutes.

Pinned in own half

The rest of the half belonged to England as they pinned the Junior Boks in their own half, and the hosts defence in the end held out brilliantly as they reached the break level pegging.

The second half started with England picking up where they left off, taking play into the Junior Boks 22m, where they set up a 5m lineout and powered a maul over for lock Joe Bailey to dot down the unconverted score in the 44th minute.

This seemed to spark the Junior Boks back to life and six minutes later they responded as outside centre Jurenzo Julius grubbered a ball ahead, with right wing Likhona Finca showing great football skills to kick the ball ahead three times before scoring to bring the scores level at 12-all.

It was England who however had the final say as they kept playing after the fulltime hooter, despite being assured of top spot on the log, eventually seeing a monster maul from a 5m lineout powered over for replacement hooker James Isaacs to dot down and seal the win.

Scorers

Junior Boks: Tries – Zachary Porthen, Likhona Finca; Conversion – Liam Koen

England U20: Tries – Finn Carnduff, Joe Bailey, James Isaacs; Conversion – Sean Kerr

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