First half cost Baby Boks – Theron

Date published: June 16 2015

Baby Boks coach Dawie Theron believes his side's first half performance cost them in Monday's World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final loss to England.

South Africa received two yellow cards in the first half, both for high tackles, and the disadvantage allowed England to stamp their authority on the match, especially up front.

The Baby Boks conceded a push-over try and a penalty try in the period that captain, Hanro Liebenberg and then lock Jason Jenkins were in the sin bin. They rallied with two late tries, but by then it was too late.

Speaking at the post-match conference coach, Dawie Theron, said the disappointing first half inflicted the most damage.

“You must give credit for England, who are the defending champions," he said.

"They came with a massive forward onslaught and were very physical and direct. Both our forwards who were yellow carded are jumpers in the line-out and that disrupted us. 

“The fact that we played with seven forwards for 20 minutes in the first half really sapped our energy and left us with too much to do in the end."

Skipper Liebenberg said the Baby Boks could not get going with their set-pieces, which allowed England to gain the upper hand.

“We pride ourselves on our set piece play and England did their homework, making it hard for us in those areas. We have a lot of pride to play for against France on Saturday,” explained Liebenberg. 

New Zealand and England will play in Saturday's final and South Africa will face France in the play-off for third place.