Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Junior Boks target strong finish after missing out on U20 Champs semis

The 'Baby Boks' will next take on Argentina, who beat them 31-12 in pool play, for the second time in the tournament.

Having missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Rugby U20 Championship, the Junior Boks will now play in the fifth place semi-final, against Argentina, as they look to conclude their tournament on a high.

Bafana Nhleko’s team lost 17-12 to England at the Athlone Stadium on Tuesday night, ending their hopes of playing in the semi-finals.

The Junior Boks’ match against Argentina, who handsomely beat them 31-12 in pool play just a few days ago, will take place on Sunday at 2pm.

England will take on Ireland (4.30pm), while New Zealand are up against France (7pm) in the semi-finals, also on Sunday, at the Cape Town Stadium.

‘It hurts’

Nhleko said it hurt losing to England, with the visitors to South Africa scoring the winning try several minutes after the final hooter had sounded, but that his side would give it their all to finish the championship on a high note.

“It hurts and we are feeling it, especially conceding after the hooter, but I thought the effort was great,” said Nhleko.

“We had our backs against the wall coming into this game and the boys got stuck in. Both teams showed a willingness to play, and I thought we put ourselves in good positions, however, we didn’t get the reward and some of that was perhaps, us being a bit too desperate at times. Those are the small margins that go for or against you.

“Although we didn’t succeed in our mission, we still have two matches remaining and those games will give us the opportunity to end as high as we can.

“We will continue giving guys an opportunity as part of the pathway process and their long-term development.”

The Boks’ only win in the competition came in their opening pool match, against Fiji, when they triumphed 57-7.

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