Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron was full of praise for his team’s effort after their convincing 28-15 win over England in pool B of the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The Junior Boks stormed back from a 0-3 deficit at the break to score four tries and get the bonus point needed to top the pool and qualify for the semifinals of the competition.
They will play Argentina at Cape Town’s DHL Newlands Stadium on Sunday.
“The players never stopped believing that four tries were possible. Even at the break, when we have failed to score any points, there was a very strong belief that we should stick to our guns and keep hammering away at their defense. We scored early and that gave us great momentum.”
Tries by William Small-Smith and Shaun Adendorff in a short space of time saw the South African side race into a 14-3 lead. England closed the gap with three penalties, but bursts by Pieter Steph du Toit and another by Adendorff secured the bonus point and the win. Handrè Pollard kicked all four conversions.
“This team showed tremendous guts out there tonight and thoroughly deserves all the accolades from this win. We tried afterwards to name a man of the match, but there were just so many guys who played out of their skin, it was impossible,” Theron said.
The Junior Boks lost regular captain Wiaan Liebenberg and replacement flyhalf Tony Jantjies shortly before kick-off, but Theron said they had time to change the team, with Du Toit coming in at seven.
“He was going to play a role as a flanker in this match and the injury forced our hand a bit, but it was part of our plan,” Theron said.
Small-Smith said the team never stopped believing.
“It was a matter of time for us, as we believed that we could score four tries. It was all we talked about before the match. Everyone gave everything out there tonight.”