Junior Springbok assistant coach Bafana Nhleko said the Argentina U20s would pose different challenges to Georgia and the Namibia XV as they began their preparations for their final U20 International Series match at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

The Junior Springboks returned to the training field after a recovery day following their 50-8 victory against the Namibia XV, and the intensity and tempo was up with an eye on what will be a physical battle against Los Pumitas.

“We are quite happy with the results in the tournament so far, but for us the important thing is to be clinical,” said Nhleko.

“We created opportunities against Namibia and we feel that we didn’t take all of them, while we would also like to improve on our breakdowns and attack, and to build on our defence.

“Our other focus is on the small detail that ultimately makes a difference.”

With both sides entering Wednesday’s match unbeaten – Argentina defeated the Namibia XV 62-8 and Georgia 32-26 – Nhleko expected the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship hosts to pose a strong challenge.

“Argentina are a good side,” said Nhleko. “They are a different proposition to the sides we faced before because they keep the ball moving and they look for passes in contact and before contact, so we need to be ready for that.

“They also have a good pack of forwards and a different style from a defensive point of view, so it will be about how we can attack and use our strengths against them.”

With exactly 50 days to go before the World Rugby U20 Championship kicks off in Argentina, the coach said this warm-up game as well as their UK tour, which features matches against England and Wales, would have great significance for the Junior Springboks looking ahead to the international extravaganza.

“This game is important,” said Nhleko. “Argentina are well prepared, and they are hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship, so they are going to come out ready to play.

“For us however, the main factors in the warm-up games to ensure that we keep working on our style of play to build an innings in a game and to grow as a team.

“With regards to the UK games, they will prepare us for our opening World Rugby U20 Championship match against Scotland and any sides we might face in the later stages of the competition.” 

The Junior Springboks will kick off their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in Rosario against Scotland on Tuesday, 4 June, before taking on Georgia (Saturday, 8 June) and New Zealand (Wednesday, 12 June). The semi-finals will be contested on Monday, 17 June, and the final on Saturday, 22 June.


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