The Junior Springboks made a successful begin to the World Rugby U20 Championship with a gritty efficiency in opposition to Georgia in Stellenbosch on Saturday evening.
Having taken a 12-point lead into the break, the Junior Boks have been pushed again by a resurgent Georgia within the second half, however a late flurry was sufficient to safe a 33-23 win.
It was a combined bag from the event hosts at a vocal Danie Craven Stadium, with some good bits of tactical play within the first half adopted by a moderately scrappy and penalty-ridden second interval.
Flyhalf Jean Smith was flawless off the kicking tee, deservedly named man of the match, whereas inside centre Ethan Hooker scored a decisive 72nd-minute attempt to cap a strong displaying.
Tries from outdoors centre Katlego Letebele and wing Jurenzo Julius, who acrobatically scored within the nook, had the Junior Boks flying within the first half.
A Smith penalty simply earlier than the break noticed South Africa take a 20-8 lead into half-time.
A second strive for South Africa, by Jurenzo Julius, and transformed by Jean Smith prolonged the result in 17-7 pic.twitter.com/EfDVPONvCC
— Junior Springboks (@JuniorBoks) June 24, 2023
What a loopy end! 🤪
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 24, 2023
The Georgians got here out weapons blazing within the second half, smelling blood in opposition to an SA defence that was leaving gaps to assault. It appeared the guests could be set for an upset once they narrowed the deficit to simply two factors.
Nevertheless, Smith’s temperament got here to the fore as he slotted two stress penalties to stretch the lead, earlier than Hooker pounced on a unfastened ball to attain a turnover try to seal the win.
South Africa will subsequent be in motion on Thursday in opposition to Italy U20, who suffered a 43-15 loss to Argentina U20.
Photograph: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Pictures