South Africa came from behind to overcome Japan 38-19 in their Under 20 Championship opener
Tries from Zain Davids (2), JT Jackson, Jeremy Ward (2), Manie Libbok, Mosolwa Mafuma and Carlu Sadie secured the bonus-point victory
A first half hat-trick from Ataata Moeakiola gave the Brave Blossoms an Unexpected 19-14 lead at the break
South Africa overturned a half-time deficit to run in eight tries and secure a comfortable bonus-point victory in their tournament opener against Japan on Tuesday.
An amazing first half treble from powerhouse winger Ataata Moeakiola gave the Boks a bad case of Da Ja Vu and the Cherry and Whites a surprising 19-14 lead at the break.
The Junior Boks’ had started well when Zain Davids crossed in the opening 10 minutes, but they found themselves 12 points adrift heading into the break following Moeakiola’s treble. JT Jackson though struck back for South Africa on the stroke of half-time to reduce the deficit to just five points.
And the Boks started the second half with the same conviction, scoring three tries in the first eight minutes of the second half to recapture their lead and move clear. Captain Jeremy Ward’s pair of scores sandwiched Davids second try as South Africa opened up a convincing lead, 38-19.
Further tries from Manie Libbok, Mosolwa Mafuma and Carlu Sadie against a tiring Japanese defence made the victory extra secure and took their try total for the day to eight while Curwin Bosch was perfect from the tee as he kicked nine from nine.
The Boks started well, opening the scoring in the first ten minutes when blindside flanker Zain Davids exploded through the Japanese defence to force the ball down between the posts. The versatile Curwin Bosch then added the simple conversion, 7-0.
Japan though showed their attacking intent when they levelled the scores after 20 minutes. Powerhouse winger Moeakiola collected the ball after a well-worked lineout before rifling through the Bok defence to touch down to the right of the posts. Taisetsu Kanai then converted confidently.
Five minutes later the Brave Blossoms were incredibly ahead as Moeakiola superbly collected a crossfield to touch down in the right corner. Kanai again nudged over to give Japan the lead for the first time. Before the Japanese try Junior Boks winger S’busiso Nkosi was sent to the sin-bin for a reckless tackle.
Moeakiola then secured his hat-trick on the half-hour, powering through once again in the right corner. Kanai this time saw his conversion attempt come back off the post.
Soon after Japan were also reduced to 14 when Faulua Makisi was shown yellow for a reckless challenge.
Back up to their full compliment, the Junior Springboks hit back just before the break as Manie Libbok’s delightful chip found Jackson, who dotted down between the posts. Kirwan then added the extras to reduce the deficit to five points heading into half-time, 14-19.
The Boks didn’t take long to draw themselves level after the restart as skipper Ward powered over following Davids initial break. Bosch then slotted the conversion to put his side narrowly back in front, 19-21.
Flanker Davids then scored his side’s second in four minutes as he once again exploded through numerous attempted tackles to dive over. Bosch again added the extras to give his side a nine-point lead.
Ward then also got his brace as he glided through the Blossoms defence to slide over in the corner. Bosch again added the extras before smashing over a mammoth of a penalty. And all of a sudden the Boks were clear, 38-19.
South Africa then added their sixth try when fly-half Libbok sliced through Japan’s tiring defence after 65 minutes. Bosch again continued to impress from the tee with yet another conversion, pushing his side 26 points ahead.
Number seven and eight came soon after as speedster Mafuma finally got his try after threatening on a number of occassions while Sadie forced over in overtime. Bosch continued to impress from the tee as he made it nine from nine, 59-19.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Japan: Ataata Moeakiola
The Japanese winger was simply unbelievable. His skill level, power and athleticism saw him score three tries in the opening half an hour before he continued to be his sides main threat throughout despite the Cherry and Whites collapse after the restart.
South Africa: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward (c), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Mosolwa Mafuma, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 James Hall, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Zain Davids, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Jaco Holtzhausen, 2 Tango Balekile, 1 Kwenzo Blose
Replacements: 16 Franco van den Berg, 17 Jan-Henning Campher, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Ruben de Villiers, 20 Denzel Hill, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Keanu Vers
Japan: 15 Takuhei Yasuda, 14 Ataata Moeakiola, 13 Shintaro Nagatomi, 12 Doga Maeda, 11 Tomoya Yamamura, 10 Taisetsu Kanai, 9 Daiki Nakajima, 8 Tevita Tatafu, 7 Masato Furukawa, 6 Faulua Makisi, 5 Daichi Akiyama, 4 Tatsunari Fujita, 3 Shosuke Tashiro, 2 Yoshiaki Takeuchi, 1 Ryosuke Iwaihara
Replacements: 16 Ken Saito, 17 Keiichi Kaneko, 18 Taku Toma, 19 Ryo Inoue, 20 Taichi Mano, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Soki Watanabe, 23 Ren Takano