Argentina boss Junior Springboks in Stellenbosch

Argentina delivered a physically superior performance to beat a bumbling Junior Springbok side 31-12 in their World Rugby U20 Championship pool clash played in rainy conditions in Stellenbosch on Thursday night.

Los Pumitas, who led 17-0 at the break, scored five tries to South Africa’s one – a penalty try – and were in control of the match from the outset, while the Junior Boks will have to dig deep if they are going to remain in the title race with a must-win pool game against unbeaten England coming up on Tuesday.

England top the pool after beating Fiji earlier on Thursday, which means the Junior Boks can still miss out on the semi-finals even if they beat the English.

Junior Springboks made wrong decisions

Argentina started like a house on fire, while the Junior Boks were ponderous with the ball in hand, often making wrong decisions, and guilty of mistakes at crucial stages during the half which saw them lose possession in attacking positions.

Unfortunately for SA U20 head coach Bafana Nhleko, these trends continued for much of the game as his charges failed to fire any serious shots.

Los Pumitas led by 12-0 after only eight minutes courtesy of a maul try by Juan Greising Revol (hooker) and a great five-pointer from No 8 Juan Pedro Bernasconi from a blindside attack after patient phase-play.

When Revol added his second in the 22nd minute, the South Americans were cruising at 17-0 and although the Junior Boks upped their game, they were still guilty of forcing things which led to more mistakes.

Argentina scored their fourth try early in the second half, from another mistake at a lineout by SA U20, with their captain, Efrain Elias, gladly catching a ball that missed its target before crashing over. Santino Di Lucca added the extras to make it 24-0.

A few minutes later, the Junior Springboks finally got their first points of the match courtesy of a penalty try after Argentina illegally brought down an attacking SA lineout drive, which also saw one of their players sent to the sin bin.

They failed to make anything of the numerical advantage though as Argentina hit the one-off runners hard, with knock-ons often following in moves that didn’t yield any gains.

The South Americans all but wrapped up the game in the 70th minute when a Liam Koen (flyhalf) clearance kick was charged down and Juan Penoucos (flanker) scored their fifth try.

The Junior Boks finished the game on the attack, and the hard-working Bathobele Hlekani (flanker) was rewarded with a consolation try after the buzzer had sounded.


Junior Springboks

Tries: Penalty try, Bathobele Hlekani


Tries: Juan Pedro Bernasconi, Juan Greising Revol (2), Efrain Elias, Juan Penoucos

Conversions: Santino Di Lucca (3)

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