Theron praises Junior Springboks

Date published: June 7 2016

Junior Springbok head coach Dawie Theron hailed his team's fighting spirit as they came back from trailing at half-time to see off Japan.

South Africa won their opening game of this year's World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester 59-19 on Tuesday, despite an early scare.

It was a morale-boosting victory for the Junior Boks, who found themselves 7-19 down after 31 minutes, but never backed off to finally outscore Japan by eight tries to three. The score at the break was 14-19.

"The first-half was a bit of a shock for the guys and I think they didn’t really expect that, but I told them that this is a World Cup, you have to convert your opportunities into points," said Theron after the victory.

"We probably were a little shell-shocked when they scored those three tries, but I am proud of the way the players fought back. Japan played well and they targeted the rucks, which they did not do last year.

"It was a tough lesson for us, but we adapted quickly. I think we regrouped very well as a team after a hard team talk at half-time and we stuck to our structures, which worked in the end."