The Junior Springboks were made sweat for a hard-fought 29-10 victory over Zimbabwe’s Under-20s in East London on Tuesday, with the visitors refusing to lie down, especially in the second half of the match at Baysville High School.
Playing with a strong wind in their backs, the hosts romped into a 19-0 lead at the break, but could not quite come to grips with the all-out attack from the Junior Sables Women, who carried well in the second half.
The South African side were guilty of not dominating the tackle area and often grabbed at their opponents, instead of tackling them to the ground, and that allowed the Sables to continue with their free-flowing off-loading approach to the game.
The Junior Bok Women also did not utilise the strong wind in their backs in the first half.
After some early territorial pressure by the home side, Zimbabwe conceded the first points of the match when a poor clearance kick bounced nicely into the hands of lock Setty Dlamini, who crashed over. Shiniqwa Lamprecht, South Africa’s vice-captain, converted the try as well as the second five-pointer 10 minutes later, when scrumhalf Carmelita Malone ran in untouched.
Malone reacted quick following a scrum penalty against Zimbabwe and was off to the races and under the sticks in a flash, following a quick tap.
A third try, this time from a lineout maul, handed Karabo Lebotsa her first five-pointer. Zimbabwe decided not to contest the lineout drive, but the South Africans kept the ball at the front without obstructing and the try stood.
The second half started well for Zimbabwe, who seemed to have more energy when in possession. They attacked well, often through offloads, and with no dominant tackles coming from their opponents, created a free flowing attack.
Captain and centre, Trish Moko scored 15 minutes after the break after a number of pick and drives by the visitors, but the South Africans hit back with a beautiful try from the restart, when Lamprecht accelerated through the outside gap to restore the 19 point lead, in what turned out to be an isolated moment of clarity for the SA U20s’ attack.
Moko got a second try, again from a number of flowing attacks by her teammates, before another good effort from SA replacement wing Shannon Pieterse. Malone again created some space with a quick tap before the speedster showed good pace and power to dot down for a 29-10 lead.
There were a number of chances for the home side to score again, but poor handling skills close to the tryline thwarted those.
Junior Springbok Women 29 (19) – Tries: Carmelita Malone, Setty Dlamini, Karabo Lebotsa, Shiniqwa Lamprecht, Shannon Pieterse. Conversions: Lamprecht (2).
Zimbabwe 10 (0) – Tries: Trish Moko (2).