Junior Boks’ growth has Nhleko smiling

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Bafana Nhleko (Getty Images)
Bafana Nhleko (Getty Images)

A third consecutive win in the U20 International Series secured the Junior Springboks the top spot in the four-team tournament, but for head coach Bafana Nhleko, the effort and commitment from his squad in the 42-0 romp over Georgia on Monday was just as pleasing as the final log position.

The Junior Boks started their third match with two debutants and a number of players starting for the first time, and the way those players responded was as important as the result, Nhleko said.

“This tournament is as much as growing depth in the squad and exposing the players to the demands of international U20 rugby as anything else, and that was always part of our wider plan, so I am very pleased that we did that successfully,” said Nhleko.

“The fact that all the players in the squad have now started a match and enjoyed significant game time over the three games have already led to significant positives in our group.”

Nhleko praised the endeavours of the players in their effort against Georgia, which saw the SA U20s score six tries in severe weather conditions.

“It has been raining all day and the conditions made it very difficult, but credit to the guys who really delivered,” he said.

“They displayed very good levels of skills and discipline. We will probably face similar conditions in our last match on Saturday, so we will have to repeat this performance.

“The most pleasing aspect is how we are growing as a team and as a group. The fundamentals today were pretty good and always improving. From time to time, we do not get it right, but that is all part of growing as players and as a squad.

“The fact that we did not concede a try was also very rewarding for our coaching staff. The players are embracing what we want to achieve as a coaching staff and almost running with it, so it is very pleasing to see.”

South Africa will face Argentina in  the final match of the series on Saturday.

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