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Baby Boks reach finals and Bokke win again

The South African junior side laid waste to hitherto unbeaten Argentina with a four-try-to-nil, 35-3 triumph at Newlands on Sunday evening.

Baby Boks captain Wian Liebenberg said everything fell into place for the team after their shock 23-29 defeat at the hands of Ireland in their opening Pool B game in Stellenbosch.

“Everybody said we’d be in the final but we didn’t really believe that,” said Liebenberg.

“But then we just put that (defeat) behind us and concentrated on the next game.

“Luckily everything fell into place like England beating Ireland and …everything continued to fall into place for us.

Liebenberg, who joined the semi-final action as a substitute, said his side’s belief had been severely shaken but they grew in confidence following wins over Italy and highly-fancied England ahead of the semi-final.

“Thanks to the team, they just kept on playing well after that first loss and keeping their heads up.”

Dawie Theron, the SA under-20 coach, said the Ireland setback had played its part in steeling the team’s resolve to reach their JWC milestone.

“After the Ireland loss, we did soul-searching and it might sound ironical now but that was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Theron.

“If we didn’t lose that match, we could have played New Zealand instead of Argentina in the semi.

“As it turns out, we’ll now play New Zealand in the final.

Theron said they were aware of Argentina’s prowess and knew they had their work cut out for them if they were to win.

“We’d beaten them twice earlier this year and we studied their play,” Theron said.

“We knew that if we killed them at the source – the scrums and line-outs, and not allow them to maul, then we could disrupt them.

“That’s what we did and we created a platform from the scrums and line-outs to play from.

“It made a huge difference and then we had a good kicking game on the night.

“Our defence was 100% and we kept our structures tidy.”

Both Liebenberg and Theron felt the SA players had drawn greatly on the vociferous crowd support throughout the event.

“The atmosphere at Newlands was amazing, just as it was against Ireland and England,” said Theron.

“We love to play at home and we’re a very proud rugby nation.

“In the first match we didn’t get the blend right but once we achieved that, the players responded magnificently to the cause and the crowd support just lifted them.”

Meanwhile, Boks went on a warpath following their second win against England at Ellis Park, this Saturday.

The sold-out affair saw the Bokke win convincingly 36-27 to march into the third and last Test Tour in PE this week.

The Bok boss Heyneke Meyer said his players would have learned a lot from England pushing them so close.

“We played ‘Super Rugby’ in the first half, but it’s a different game to Test rugby and it’s not so easy to keep it going for the full 80 minutes.

“Test rugby is about grinding out wins and that’s what we had to do at the end.

“The guys would have learned from this and it would have built character. I thought Jean (de Villiers) did an excellent job at the end to keep the guys focused … I would rather have gone through this now than play a brilliant 80-minute game of ‘Super Rugby’ but not learn anything,” said Meyer.

Injuries sustained by key players’ would a give chance to others to test the waters.

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