South Africa now return home from a successful day tour after edging out the home team 25-22 on Tuesday in Santa Fe. The two teams used the series as final warm-up exercise for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy next month.
On Saturday at the beautiful Club Gimnasia Stadium in Rosario, the Junior Boks raced into a commanding 25-6 halftime lead thanks to a trio of tries by front ranker Van der Merwe. Argentina struggled to match the visitors’ powerful forward surges and could only reply with two penalties.
Captain and number eight, Hanro Liebenberg, led with example with ball in hand and also did sterling work on defence. The Junior Boks dominated the scrums, were supreme in the lineouts and mauled powerfully which resulted in three tries.
Juan Cruz Matilda, Santiago Resino and Ernesto Olmedo dotted down for the home side while centre Emiliano Bofelli kept his side in the match with a good kicking display, slotting over three penalties and a conversion.
Liebenberg praised his side’s display in defence, especially in the second half when Los Pumitas fought their way back into the match.
“We played some good rugby in the first half and used of our scoring opportunities to good effect. Argentina came back strongly in the second period and really tested our defence. I am thrilled the guys pulled it through and that we won the series 2-0 in the end,” said a satisfied Liebenberg.
Junior Springbok coach, Dawie Theron, said is never easy to come away with a 2-0 series win over Argentina.
“We started much better than on Tuesday and even while we were in control in the first half, I knew they would storm back. They played with passion and determination after the break and our players had to show real character.
“This group showed a lot of fight and a great willingness to grind out a win, despite the intimidating atmosphere,” explained Theron. The South Africans fly back on Sunday morning and arrive home on Monday afternoon in Johannesburg.