Junior Boks will have to improve
June 09, 2018
Junior Springbok captain Salmaan Moerat said although his team was still hurting from their defeat against France in their final World Rugby U20 Championship pool match on Thursday, they would rally together and work harder for Tuesday’s semi-final against England.

The SA U20s will do so with a new team-mate in prop Leon Lyons, who will join the squad in the south of France on Saturday afternoon after being called up as an injury replacement for Nathan McBeth, who broke a finger against France.

“It was a disappointing performance from our side, and as a squad we are still hurting,” said Moerat.

“That certainly was not the way we wanted to start the game against France, and in a tournament like this you cannot be on the back-foot from the start and chase the game.

“But that said we need to look forward to what lies ahead. We need to keep working harder and try to fulfil our potential.”

Moerat added: “One learns some valuable lessons in a game like that. So as a captain I would like us to become even tighter as a group this week and to focus on the next job, which is England.

“We will do our homework on them, prepare well, and be stronger as a unit.”

With England topping the log standings in the pool stages with bonus-point victories in all three of their matches, Moerat said they would pose a completely different to challenge to that which his charges faced in Worcester on their warm-up tour to the UK.

“We may have played England before, but they will be a much better side going into the semi-final,” said Moerat. “They were very successful in the group stages and they are a quality side, so it is going to be a different ball game this time.”

South Africa and England will meet in the first semi-final at Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l'Amitié at 19h00 on Tuesday, while New Zealand and France will meet at Stade Aime-Giral in Perpignan at 21h00.

The Junior Springboks focused on recovery and match analysis on Friday, and returned to the training field on Saturday.

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