Junior Springbok assistant coach Nazeem Adams said on Wednesday the team had to step up their performance and deliver a full 80 minute effort against Argentina on Saturday to build on their victory against Japan in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester.
The SA U20s registered a morale-boosting 59-19 victory against Japan in their opening match on Tuesday after fighting their way back from a 19-14 halftime deficit.
They face Argentina next on Saturday at 18h00 (19h00 SA Time) at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The South Africans outscored Japan by eight tries to three, while fullback Curwin Bosch was in fine form with the boot and slotted over all the conversions and added a penalty for his individual total of 19 points.
“There are a few areas of our game that require a vast improvement before the Argentina clash, such as our breakdowns and defence, and we have to make sure that we play for the full 80 minutes,” said Adams.
“That said, we are happy with the final score against Japan. We were a little frantic in the beginning, and we made too many unforced errors, but luckily we managed to turn things around in the second half.”
Adams expected a tough challenge against Argentina, who kicked off their campaign with a confidence-boosting 24-15 victory against France.
“Argentina is always a tough team to play against,” said Adams. “They will target our breakdowns, and their set pieces are very good, so we have to be physical at the contact points.”
With the SA U20s playing their next match in three days, Adams said player management was important to ensure that the players are able to meet the physical and mental demands of participating in such a tough competition.
“Player management will be absolutely vital,” said the backline coach. “The players have today off to rest and recover, and then we will have two training sessions tomorrow and the captains run on Friday. So we have to make the most of the time we have on the training field to work on the areas of our game that were lacking against Japan.”
Junior Springbok head coach Dawie Theron will announce his team to face Argentina on Friday.