Home Sport Junior Boks determined to fire up their backline for Fiji clash

Junior Boks determined to fire up their backline for Fiji clash

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Fiji won’t be pushovers, as they showed by beating Tonga, Moana Pasifika and Samoa in the Oceania Under-20 Championship earlier this year.

Junior Springboks head coach Bafana Nhleko. Picture: @JuniorBoks/Twitter

While they are wary of Fiji’s attacking threat, the Junior Springboks believe that sorting out their set pieces will be the key to victory in Saturday’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship opener at the Cape Town Stadium (7pm start).

The Junior Boks had a mixed return at the inaugural Rugby Championship in Australia a few months ago, where they drew 13-13 with New Zealand to finish second on the log.

But heavy rain affected their performances on the Sunshine Coast, and they will hope to deliver better front-foot ball to the backline on Saturday.

“Our work-ons are what we pride ourselves on as South Africans, which is the set piece. We want to get our set piece right. It’s vitally important for us because you need that platform in any competition to attack from,” SA Under-20 assistant coach Lumumba Currie said during a media briefing at the team hotel in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“We had challenges in that area, and we need to be honest about it. We need to address it going forward, confront them, and we’ve done a couple of things that should assist us. We also need to take our opportunities when they arise. If you look at the New Zealand game, there are a couple of opportunities that we could’ve converted, but we just couldn’t and ended up with a 13-13 draw.

“Against the Wallabies, we were also our own worst enemies. We had some set-piece errors and couldn’t score from there. There’s not much that we can change, but we must improve what we are trying to do.”

Fiji, though, won’t be pushovers, as they showed by beating Tonga, Moana Pasifika and Samoa in the Oceania Under-20 Championship earlier this year.

The South Africans, though, feel that they are better prepared compared to last year, where they lost 31-12 to Ireland in the semi-finals at Athlone Stadium, before beating England 22-15 in the third-place play-off.

“I will be honest, we are better than where we were last year this time,” Currie said.

“We were still trying to find our feet at this stage last year, and there wasn’t enough time to get together and (perform well). Now that we played in the Championship, it will be good for us because of those three Test matches.”

“The majority of our players last year (made their debut) against Georgia in the first game of the World Championship.

“Coming from schools rugby, Under-19 and Under-20 provincial competition is not the same as internationals. The margins for error are so much smaller.

“But the Rugby Championship and this environment has taught this group that you’ve got to minimise your errors, as you won’t get so many chances, and sort out our execution on attack and defence.

“Fiji have been playing together for a while now, and also played in the New Zealand under-20 competition, which means that they’ve spent time together, which should give them positive results.”

Junior Springbok Schedule

Saturday: Fiji, 7pm, Cape Town Stadium

Thursday, July 4: Argentina, 7pm, Danie Craven Stadium

Tuesday, July 9: England, 7pm, Athlone Stadium

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