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Junior Boks win bronze, Augustus named U20 Player of the Tournament

By Marc Jacobson - Jun 19, 2017
Junior Boks win bronze, Augustus named U20 Player of the Tournament

Reaping some awards for their fighting efforts in the World Rugby U20 Championship, the Junior Springboks claimed bronze after a resilient 37-15 victory over France at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi on Sunday afternoon.

The game curtain-raised the massacring final between New Zealand and England later on, which the Junior Blacks romped through as 64-17 victors. On their end, the Junior Boks’ pride was at stake, as they aimed for some sort of podium finish, which they did in styling fashion.

South Africa drew 23-23 to the French in their first game of the three-week tournament, but in their last outing, put them to the sword 37-15, but it was their strong second half showing, which rewarded them the overall spoils.

France lead 8-7 at half-time, with some wind in the sails after retreating from a 7-0 deficit early on, but it was the Junior Boks who rocked into gear, as the second half got underway.

This saw them score a blistering try from hooker Johann Grobbelaar, immediately into the second half proceedings when he broke away on the right flank of the field, followed by a penalty seven minutes later by flyhalf Immanuel Libbok.

With the scores at 17-7, the Junior Boks then threw sand over France’s heads when reserve back David Brits, scored a long-range intercept try under the posts to take it to 24-7.

After another converted penalty, Grobbelaar then once again showed his awareness to be in the right place at the right time, and scored another try in the left corner, which extended their margin to 24 points.

Sealing their dominance, workhorse eighth-man Juarno Augustus then wrangled his way over for South Africa’s last try in the 71st minute, which tallied his tournament try scores to seven – the most of any other player at the U20 Championship.

France scored a constellation try in the 78th try, but it was to no avail as the Junior Boks soared to their bronze prize.

To polish this off, South Africa’s Augustus was awarded the prestigious World Rugby U20 Player of the Tournament, after scoring a try in all of their five matches, including two against France in the opener and two against England in the semi-final.

Augustus was at the pinnacle of the Junior Boks’ physical forward dominance throughout the competition, while also being a shining link between the backs and forwards with a tremendous work-rate. For this, he achieved the supreme recognition.

“It is a surreal feeling to win this award. I didn’t think I would win it,” Augustus told SA Rugby.

“It is an honour and privilege for me, and certainly a highlight in my career.”

“I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches and the public who voted for me. I’d also like to thank my family for their unwavering support throughout my career. This is a very special moment,” he expressed.

Image: Juarno Augustus in action against England.