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Argentina Dismantle South Africa: The U20 World Championship Finals Day Review Part 1

It was a jam-packed Saturday at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford just outside of Manchester as a handful of teams fought for the best possible seeding for next year’s U20 Championship, as well as England and Ireland battling it out for the coveted World Championship trophy.

We are going to take an in-depth look at all three games that took place at the AJ Bell Stadium.

3rd Place Play-Off: Argentina v South Africa

First up it was Argentina – or the Pumitas as the U20s side is known – up against South Africa’s Baby Boks, who finished third in last year’s event and second in 2014.  They were playing for the right to call themselves the third best team in the tournament, or the bronze medal match.

It was the South Africans who took the early lead with two slick tries from Manie Libbok and Edwill Van Der Merwe and it seemed that the men in green would dominate.

However, Argentina were determined to get their hands on a first ever podium finish at the U20 Championship and relied heavily on their driving maul, which worked effectively despite South Africa’s mighty pack. Fly-half Domingo Miotti kicked through for Juan Cruz Mallia and suddenly the Pumitas were right back in it.

The Baby Boks needed to gain the momentum back again and did so thanks to Jan-Henning Campher’s score that came from South Africa opting to kick for the corner rather than taking the three points from a very kickable penalty.

But despite getting a stranglehold on the game, the South Africans bizarrely began running from their own 22 and sloppy passing resulted in Juan Cruz Mallia intercepting and running in for the easiest of tries.

Things then got worse for South Africa as Ruben de Villiers was sin binned for tackling a player in the air – the Baby Boks shooting themselves in the foot once more.

At half time the scores were 19 – 17 and with South Africa down to 14 men, Argentina needed to capitalise on their man advantage.

Whatever was said at half-time worked. South Africa would not score again in the match, with Argentina adding 32 unanswered points in the second half, including tries for Jose Barros Sosa, Gaspar Baldunciel, Juan Cruz Mallia (who completed his hat-trick), Facundo Dominguez and Mariano Romanini.

Ultimately, Argentina were much the better side in the second half and were deserved winners of the bronze medal. Congratulations to the Pumitas. It means South Africa will now enter in the second level of seeding for next year’s edition of the tournament.

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.