South Africa 22-16 New Zealand, IRB Junior World Championship Final
Theron hails Junior Boks' triumph
June 22, 2012
South Africa centre Jan Serfontein was named player of the tournament © Getty Images
Junior Boks coach Dawie Theron believes the future of South African rugby is bright after watching his side claim their first-ever IRB Junior World Championship title.
The Junior Boks ended the Baby Blacks' four-year grip on the U20s crown with a 22-16 victory in the final at DHL Newlands Stadium on Friday. Theron said the home support was a crucial factor in his side's triumph as well as hailing a exciting new generation of South African players.
"I said from the start that this was positive pressure," he said. "The support from the public was unbelievable and the knowledge that Newlands was sold out was enough motivation for our players not to disappoint.
"Our driving play was exceptional and forced New Zealand to concede penalties. That kept us in the game and gave us a lot of energy. It was a matter of converting the pressure into points and we did that with two great tries in the second half. We all feel blessed and humbled by this experience and with players like these; the future of South African rugby is bright."
Junior Boks skipper Wiaan Liebenberg added: "Credit to the coaching staff for creating an environment where we could really bond as a team and play for each other. We became a family during this tournament and no one was going to drop his brother next to him. This was a dream come true for us and to be able to share this with so many South Africans was something we will always treasure."
Jan Serfontein was picked out as player of the tournament but insisted team spirit and unity were the primary reasons behind their triumph.
"I am humbled by the award, but must credit everyone that was on the field with me," he said. "This was a team effort from the start, where everyone just worked so hard for the guy next to him. It is a special feeling for all of us."
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