Last hurdle for Baby Boks
June 12, 2012 in Rugby
Last year in the IRB Junior Rugby Championship the “Baby” Boks, as they are called, were faced with the challenge to defeat a mighty England squad (or Rose buds, who ended up in the finals if I recall) to make it through to the semi finals of the championship.
The format is a strange one; only 3 pools exist, with the top team from each pool going to the semi finals, and then the team with the most points on the log out of all the remaining teams, regardless of the pool, joins the top 3 in the playoffs.
With the log as it currently stands, not even a win may be good enough for the Baby Boks to progress and they face the embarassment of failing to make the semi finals in the tournament as hosts and one of the favorites.
A surprise result when Wales beat the Baby Blacks makes it an almost impossible task for the Boks to sneak through as highest second placed team when they face England tonight. The Baby Blacks, Boks, and France sit on 6 points a piece while Australia and Ireland are also not totally out of the run on 5 points, depending on today’s results.
The Baby Blacks have a less than challenging task of disposing of Fiji, a guaranteed 5 pointer which will place them on 11 points in pool A, while pool leaders, Wales, have an opportunity to reward their stalwarts for the victory against the Baby Blacks with rest, when they take on Samoa, also a more than likely 5 pointer, leaving Pool A’s standings unchanged.
With the Baby Boks needing a bonus point victory over England to top the Pool, assuming that Ireland disposes of Italy with the same relative ease the Bokkies and England did and gaining 5 points, it does not bode well for their chances of progressing. (With Ireland on 10 and the Boks on 10, Ireland will go through because they beat the Baby Boks).
And considering our poor performance against Ireland, our recent record against the Rose Buds, and our failure to do more damage to lowly Italy than we should have, or could have, I simply cannot see the Baby Boks progressing to the next stage of this tournament, unless Dawie Theron hits a master stroke with his squad selection, and players like Serfontein, Jordaan and Pollard click to such extent that the run in four tries, or else we should hope that the rugby gods for once find favour with our cause and allow one or two more upsets in the other matches taking place.
It seems the lessons learnt from the previous series when the Baby Boks lost out in similar fashion has been lost despite Dawie being excused for lack of preparation time in 2011. For all the good Dawie has done with the Griquas, he just doesn’t seem to get it right with the Baby Boks. Granted, had the prodigeuos talent in Johan Goosen not been horribly lost out on due to an injury when bravely trying to save the Cheetahs Super Rugby campaign (the Cheetahs eventually lost that game), things might have turned out different, but this year he has no excuses, as Dawie will be sent packing his bags as Junior Bok coach if the Junior Boks do not get the necessary 5 points against a very strong England side.
The squad for tonights game has been announced, and they might well regain some glimmer of honor by defeating the English, but this time, just winning will not be enough.
Junior Springbok team v England: 15. Dillyn Leyds (Western Province), 14. Paul Jordaan (KZN), 13. William Small-Smith (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 11. Pat Howard (DHL Western Province), Handrè Pollard (DHL Western Province), 9. Vian van der Watt (MTN Golden Lions), 8. Fabian Booysen (MTN Golden Lions), 7. Wiaan Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls, captain), 6. Shaun Adendorff (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 5. Ruan Botha (MTN Golden Lions), 4. Paul Willemse (MTN Golden Lions), 3. Oliver Kebble (DHL Western Province), 2. Jason Thomas (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 1. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province)
Replacements:16. Mark Pretorius (MTN Golden Lions), 17. Allan Dell (KZN), 18. Pieter Steph du Toit (KZN), 19. Braam Steyn (KZN), 20. Abrie Griesel (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 21. Tony Jantjies (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 22. Tshotsho Mbovane (DHL Western Province), 23. Maks van Dyk (KZN)
(Yes, this is somewhat of a repost, but I corrected yesterday’s post to reflect the facts as yesterday my head was still on weekend!)