Winning start for Baby Boks

THE SA U-20s kicked off their 2011 IRB Junior World Championship to a winning start following their 33-0 victory over Scotland in Padova on Friday.

The Baby Boks held their opponents scoreless and achieved maximum points after scoring four tries. Centre Francois Venter and captain Arno Botha each scored a brace of tries. Flyhalf Johan Goosen kicked three penalties and two conversions.

“We’re happy to achieve our first win at the IRB Junior World Championship, but there’s still a lot of hard work that lies ahead if we intend to achieve our goal of which is to perfect the way we want to play during the next four matches,” said SA U20 coach Dawie Theron.

“The result is a good one, but the score difference is not something that we are going to be focusing on that much. We’ve only got three days to prepare for our next match which is against Ireland. For us as a team, it’s about building momentum and ensuring that we are fresh for that challenge. We’ll enjoy the victory, but are very much wary of the threat a passionate team like Ireland can be.”

The SA U20s overwhelmed Scotland in the scrums, were solid in the line-outs and produced a clinical defensive effort which strangled the Scots who attempted to run the ball throughout the game. The Baby Boks though were guilty of conceding numerous handling errors during critical periods of the game.

Man of the Match Siya Kolisi was one the standout players for the South Africans, as was lock Eben Etzebeth. Both forward were instrumental up front and earned numerous turnovers for the SA U20s. Goosen dictated matters well in the backline, while the physical presence of Venter in the midfield stifled the attacking potency of Scotland.

Fullback Ulrich Beyers controlled the game at the back, and Springbok Sevens back Tshotsho Mbovane troubled the Scotland defensive line with his snipping runs.

“I think we could have scored a few more tries during the match, and at the end of the day, it was our own handling errors and mistakes which saw us stagnate during periods of the game,” said Botha.

“But we’ll have a quick look tomorrow at where we went wrong and where we can work on, and start our preparations for Ireland. We know we can play much better than what was produced against Scotland, and hopefully we’ll get that chance to rectify things against Ireland.

“Our goal was to win, and we are chuffed with the bonus point win, but we want to continue a proud culture in the squad of success. So it’s one down, and four to go.”

Scorers: South Africa – Tries: Francois Venter (2), Arno Botha (2); Conversion: Johan Goosen (2); Penalties: Goosen (3).-SA Rugby.net

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