Argentina clinch Baby Bok series

Argentina won a closely contested Under-20 friendly match against the Baby Boks in Buenos Aires on Saturday to take the 3 match series.

Argentina led 17-5 at halftime and their 27-22 win saw them clinch the series 2-1. The Baby Boks won the opening encounter 26-3 in Corrientes and then suffered a 42-27 loss at the same venue.

Both countries used the series to fine tune their preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship which will be held during June in France.

One of the huge positives for coach Dawie Theron must be the fact that their squad managed to score more tries than the opposition in each of their three matches.

Similar to Tuesday’s defeat, it was again the accurate boot of Argentine flyhalf Patricio Fernandez which ultimately proved the difference between the two sides. The pivot contributed 17 points by virtue of a try, three conversions and two penalties to guide his side to a narrow victory.

Argentina again raced into a lead at halftime after Paz Joaquin (centre) and Cordero Santiago (fullback) had each scored a try while Fernandez succeeded with an early penalty and the two conversions. SA captain Neethling Fouche (prop) finally managed to force his way over the try line five minutes before the break after a period of sustained SA pressure.

South Africa showed much better discipline and their forwards managed to keep the strong Argentinian forward charge in check for most parts of the match.

Scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer gave his team the perfect start to the second half when he scored the visitors’ second try a minute after the restart to edge them closer at 17-10.

However, Fernandez replied with a converted try and two penalties to stretch the lead to 24-10, before a burst of two tries through Justin Geduld (replacement centre) and Robert du Preez (flyhalf) saw South Africa close the gap to within five points (27-22).

Afterwards, Theron said the main objective was for the team to have the opportunity to play together and to bond as a team.

“We came very close in both matches and I know our guys have learnt a lot from this tour. Results are what count in the end, but we must keep in mind that this is essentially a new squad and we managed to give everyone a chance to play,” said Theron.

Argentina: Tries: Paz Joaquin, Cordero Santiago, Patricio Fernandez. Conversions: Fernandez (3). Penalties: Fernandez (2).

Baby Boks: Tries: Neethling Fouché (prop), Stefan Ungerer (scrumhalf), Justin Geduld (replacement centre), Robert du Preez (flyhalf). Conversion:  Handré Pollard (centre).