Captain Zach Mercer’s late converted try sent reigning champions England through to the world U20 championship final. They’ll face New Zealand or France in the final. in Tbilisi, Georgia.
England had a five-point lead going into the break after Zach Mercer and Alex Mitchell crossed for converted tries which Max Malins kicked along with a further penalty.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 13, 2017
South Africa responded though with Juarno Augusto powering over either side of England’s tries with Curwin Bosch converting the first of those tries.
A converted try from Ruben Van Heerden and five points from the boot of Bosch
Captain Mercer nevertheles produced a moment of individual brilliance to power through several tackles and barge over under the posts to level the scores, 22-22.
Malins then converted to give England the lead and despite a nervy finish they held on to reach their fourth final in five years.
England U20 team to face South Africa:
15. Tom Parton (London Irish) The fullback refused to be locked down, and his persistence kept England always on the front foot. 6/10
14. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby) Always industrious and made sure he was in support. 6/10
13. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors) Invariably picks great lines but wasn’t able to penetrate a stubborn Junior Bok defence. 6/10
12. Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish)
11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins) The ball did not run for him much, but he chased well and made sure he kept involved with some great cover tackles. 7/10
10. Max Malins (Saracens) The fly-half ran the show with a commanding performance and accurate goalkicking. Also pulled off a spectacular offload for Mitchell’s try. 9/10
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints) The great orchestrator – made the most of the front ball and kept the temp high. He also took his try very well – finishing against the post. 8/10
1. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens) Did his duty in a struggling scrum and worked tirelessly in the loose. 6/10
2. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby) Not quite the force he’s been earlier in the tournament. 6/10
3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs) Digs in and hard to shift with a number of punishing carries. 6/10
4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs) Prodigious work rate and athleticism. He was also always willing to carry. 8/10
5. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors) Worked relentlessly in the boileroom and made some extremely strong carries. 7/10
6. Dino Lamb (Harlequins) Strong on the ball. A handful all afternoon. 6.5/10
7. Ben Earl (Saracens) The flanker always put his hand up to carry with his powerful leg drives propellingEnglandf forward. 8/10
8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) Captain fantastic. Scored the opening try and showed plenty of grit in the close quarters before dotting down the winning score. He gave everything for his country. 9/10