Cape Town – The Junior Boks have drawn their first game of the World Rugby U-20 Championship in Georgia after fighting back in a 23-23 thriller against France on Wednesday.
The Junior Boks had started strongly and scored the first try of the game inside two minutes through Juarno Augustus.
When flyhalf Curwin Bosch slotted a penalty just five minutes later things were looking good for coach Chean Roux’s men, who led 10-0.
But it all fell apart after that and the French hit back with two tries before half time to go into the break with a 12-10 lead.
It got even better for them after the break when scrumhalf Baptiste Coilloud scored France’s third.
Bosch then slotted another penalty, but when French flyhalf Romain Ntamack struck two drop goals in six minutes, the Junior Boks were 23-13 down.
A third Bosch penalty made it 23-16 with 20 minutes to play, and while the South Africans threatened in that final quarter, handling errors crept in at crucial times.
That was until the final play of the game, when Augutus scored his second after a lineout 5 metres from the French line. Bosch converted to draw the scores level at 23-23.
The Junior Boks still have to play against Georgia (June 4) and Argentina (June 8) – games that they now have to win to qualify for the semi-finals.
South Africa 23
Tries: Augustus (2)
Conversions: Bosch (2)
Penalties: Bosch (3)
Tries: Buros, Dufour, Couilloud
Drop goals: Ntamack (2)
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 David Brits, 11 Wandisile Simelane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 6 Zain Davids, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Substitutes: 16 Kwenzo Blose, 17 Daniel Jooste, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Francois de Villiers, 22 Damian Willemse, 23 Gianni Lombard