Baby Boks hold off New Zealand
South Africa caused the first upset of the U20 Junior World Championship when they beat hosts New Zealand 33-24 in Albany on Friday.
The home side led 17-14 at half-time but the Baby Boks upped the ante in the second half and scored three tries.
South Africa's hero was their captain and fly-half Handré Pollard, who scored 18 points via a try, two conversions and three penalties.
In a game played in rainy conditions, South Africa's superior tactical kicking game laid the foundation to their victory.
Pollard was their talisman in this aspect while Baby Blacks wing Tevita Li was the hosts best player after scoring a hat-trick of tries.
South Africa raced into a 6-0 lead thanks to two penalties from Pollard before Li crossed over for two converted tries which gave the hosts a 14-6 lead by the 26th minute.
His second try was the best of the match and came due to a devastating run, in which he beat five defenders, after receiving the ball on his own 10-metre line.
There was a substantial break in play after that five-pointer after South Africa's flanker Jean-Luc du Preez was knocked out cold after taking an accidental knee to the head during a tackle.
South Africa narrowed the gap thanks to a Pollard penalty and a their opening try from Jesse Kriel.
The second half belonged to South Africa and they scored three more tries through Pollard, Lloyd Greeff and Warrick Gelant.
The last one from Gelant, in the 71st minute, was made easier after New Zealand lock James Tucker was sent to the sin bin two minutes earlier for deliberately collapsing a maul close to his try-line.
With the score at 33-17, the Baby Boks were cruiising but a lapse in concentration on defence allowed Li to secured his hat-trick shortly before the end.
It wasn't enough to secure his side a try-scoring bonus point - or one for losing by less than seven points - which could come back to haunt New Zealand later in the tournament.
For New Zealand U20:
Tries: Li 3
Con: Hickey 3
Yellow Card: Tucker
For South Africa U20:
Tries: J Kriel, Pollard, Greeff, Gelant
Con: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 3
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Vincent Tavae Aso, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jackson Gardon-Bachop, 12 Jackson Gardon-Bachop, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, (captain), 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Mathew Peni, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Geoffrey Cridge, 4 James Tucker, 3 Tau Koloamatangi, 2 Epalahame Faiva, 1 Atunaisa Moli.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Scott Mellow, 18 Timothy Cadwallader, 19 Kyle Harris, 20 Joshua Dickson, 21 Joshua Renton, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Tauasosi Tuimavave.
South Africa: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Lloyd Greeff, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 JP Smith, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Victor Sekekete, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Duhan van der Merwe.