Cape Town – The Junior Springboks scored their third consecutive bonus-point win on Wednesday at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship when they overpowered Australia Under-20 by 46-13 to qualify for the semi-finals of the world event.
The South Africans, who led 20-3 at half-time, finished first overall on the combined points table and will play fourth-placed England on Monday, June 15 in the semi-finals. New Zealand will play France in the other semi-final.
South Africa started the match in dominant fashion when they overpowered Australia in two early scrums. After having worked their way towards the Aussie tryline, flank Jacques Vermeulen broke through untouched to give his team a 7-0 minute lead in the third minute.
Australia got their first points on the board through an Andrew Deegan penalty after Leolin Zas was penalised for an illegal tackle (7-3).
Flyhalf Brandon Thomson hit the mark in the 12th minute with a penalty after the Aussies were caught on the wrong side of a ruck (10-3) as South Africa piled on the pressure and their accurate kicking game gaining good ground deep into Australian territory.
In the 18th minute prop Ox Nche was on hand to take a final pass and dive over for the second try of the evening. Thomson kicked the two points on offer from an acute angle to stretch the SA lead to 17-3.
The two teams enjoyed the water break at the 20 minute mark with South Africa well in control.
With just four minutes left on the clock Thomson kicked his second penalty of the evening to put South Africa 20-3 ahead.
After the restart, right wing Khanyo Ngcukana ran in to score from 30m meters out after prop Nche had executed a brilliant hit on Deegan. Thomson converted and SA was now 27-3 in the lead after 49 minutes.
With Cameron Orr (prop) yellow carded for a repeated offense in the scrum, Thomson scored South Africa’s bonus point try after 61 minutes to take the score to 34-3.
Jason Jenkins, the No 4 lock, showed a mean burst of speed to outflank the cover defence and slide over in the left hand corner and score try number five (39-3). Australia hit back with their first try through inside centre Duncan Paia’uau to cut the deficit to 39-8.
A cancelled Leolin Zas try, adjudged from a forward pass did not dampen the attacking effort and Zas was rewarded minutes when he score under the posts (46-8).
The Aussie captain, Andrew Kellaway (left wing) scored out wide after Dan du Preez was yellow-carded for illegal play, leaving SA with only 13 players until the end of the match.
Tries: Jacques Vermeulen, Ox Nche, Khanyo Ngcukana, Brandon Tomson, Jason Jenkins, Leolin Zas
Conversions: Thomson (4), Tinus de Beer
Penalties: Thomson (2)
Tries: Duncan Paia’uau, Andrew Kellaway
Penalty: Andrew Deegan