For a moment it looked like the form books had it all wrong when the SA U20 fullback wriggled through the 2011 Nations Cup form side defence to sprint the remaining 70 metres and score in the opening minutes of the final round-robin match, but the ray of hope was soon dashed as the superior European side went on to maul the Africans 66-7, in Santa Barbara on Thursday, 20 July.
Despite the fact that South Africa have boasting rights as the only team to raise points against England, it is a testament to the English team that the punishment they wreaked on the South Africans was the most severe to date.
England were first to score from the opening whistle as a penalty against SA for not releasing saw the log-leaders with a tap-and-run to score between the posts for a 5-0 lead, but SA responded immediately with the inspiring no. 15 converted try, for an unlikely 5-7 lead in the match’s opening minutes.
True to form, the England side responded soon enough by powering through for a converted try and a 12-7 lead, and from there on in, the South African were on the back foot trying to stem a points charge by the English.
Hand in the ruck, not retreating 10m on a penalty, knock-ons, defensive errors and poor passing continued to plague the South Africans as the English touched down another four times to go ahead 34-7 at the half-time whistle.
The omens of the first half continued to bedevil the South Africans in the second, allowing England to continue the try-fest where they left off before the whistle, capitalizing on their strength and SA errors to bank another six tries before the match mercifully ended.
While SA will have the opportunity to test the lessons learned a second time against Canada in the wooden-spoon 3rd/4th place fixture on Saturday, and will look to limit the basic ball errors that cost them dearly, while England will face the USA in the tournament final.
The South Africa U20 Squad to the Nations Cup:Doreen Rakobela (Blue Bulls) Judith Chauke (Blue Bulls) Katlego Moremi (Blue Bulls) Marithy Pienaar (Blue Bulls) Mpho Moloto (Blue Bulls) Sarah Ramoraswi (Blue Bulls) Simone Vosloo (Blue Bulls) Celeste Adonis (Boland) Chrisna van Slicht (Boland) Ntomboxolo Nanto (Easter Province) Khayalethu Mbambula (Easter Province) Mpho Mopeng (Free State) Christa Simpson (Free State) Maserame Bankiese (Griffons) Jaime Norton (KwaZulu-Natal) Nqobile Protecia Mhlangu (KwaZulu-Natal) Noluthando Mbambo (KwaZulu-Natal) Nompilo Mtshali (KwaZulu-Natal) Nomthandazo Mathe (KwaZulu-Natal) Nomzamo Ngcamu (KwaZulu-Natal) Nonkululeko Zondo (KwaZulu-Natal) Shona Leah Weston (KwaZulu-Natal) Zanele Mbokazi (KwaZulu-Natal) Nonkasa Fisiwe Zwane (Pumas) Nicole Flandorff (SWD) Elma Kemp (Western Province)