Kolbe meets his match!

Wales came from behind to score in the 79th minute to knock the Baby Boks out of the JWC, with the fleet footed Jordan Williams stealing the show.

Tank Lanning

Only 19 years old, and a pocket rocket similar in body shape to the Baby Boks Chelsin Kolbe, Williams weighs in at only 81 kg’s and stands 1m73 tall, but the Scarlets fullback showed some scintillating skills against the Baby Boks.

The Baby Boks suffered the heartbreak of conceding a last-minute try and conversion to be edged out of the Junior World Championships, 18-17, (halftime 6-7) by Wales in Vannes, France, on Tuesday night.

The Boks, who never really completely in control of the match, had twice come from behind to hold the lead in the final quarter and looked on course for a place in Sunday’s final and a chance to retain the title they won in Cape Town last year.

Lock Irne Herbst collected a short throw at the front of the lineout to crash over for the first try and give South Africa a 7-6 lead on the half hour. Then tough as teak replacement flank Kwagga Smith reclaimed the lead for South Africa to make it 14-11 with 20 mins to go.

Handré Pollard, back at inside centre with Robert du Preez at flyhalf, in what has to be considered a strange selection, had converted both tries and added a penalty to give South Africa a 17-11 lead with five minutes remaining. However, Wales right wing Ashley Evans dived on flyhalf Sam Davies’ pinpoint chip to score, with Davies then converting from wide to give Wales a last-gasp victory.

With Du Preez back at flyhalf, the Baby Boks were too lateral, always shifting out rather than straightening the line to create space for the likes of Kolbe and Luthar Obi out wide. They also tended to kick too much ball away, and certainly did not boss the set pieces.

Coach Dawie Theron said Wales executed their game plan better on the day and kept the young South Africans in their own half for most part of the match with accurate kicks.

“They forced us to run from deep and then defended well, which frustrated us and, which in turn, led to some errors. I think their flyhalf kept his cool quite well to succeed with that kick,” said Theron.

Team captain, Ruan Steenkamp, echoed the words of his coach.  “We gave it our best effort but on the day it was not enough. They did their homework on us and never allowed us to create a platform for our backline. The boys are extremely disappointed because we are all very proud to represent our country.”

Try scorer Irné Herbst said the Welsh prevented his team mates from gaining the upper hand with some fierce tackling. “They persisted with their tactic of making us turn back with long kicks into our half. We tried our best and on the day it was unfortunately not good enough,” said Herbst.

South Africa – Tries: Irne Herbst, Kwagga Smith. Conversions: Handré Pollard (2). Penalty: Pollard.

Wales – Tries: Ellis Jenkins, Ashley Evans. Conversion: Sam Davies. Penalties: Sam Davies (2)

Wales and England will meet in the final in Vannes on Sunday, June 23.

For the first time, an JWC final will be contested without New Zealand. The Baby Blacks were upset 33-21by England’s Under 20s. Despite a strong performance by New Zealand in the second half, the English were always in control and will now go onto face their 6 Nations rivals for the trophy.

The other matches on Tuesday saw a win for hosts France over Ireland, Argentina beating Australia, Samoa recording a famous win over their Pacific rivals Fiji with the last play of the game, and Scotland hammering the inept USA 39-3.

As well as the England-Wales final, New Zealand will play South Africa in the battle for bronze, France will challenge Argentina in the fifth place play-off, Ireland face Australia in the seventh place final, Samoa take on Scotland for ninth and Fiji will play USA in the battle to avoid last place in the tournament.