Centurion – Captain Sacha Mngomezulu produced a mesmerising kicking display as South Africa beat France 42-27 in their Six Nations Under-20 match in Verona, Italy, on Tuesday.
The skipper and flyhalf Mngomezulu shone with the boot with seven from seven from the kicking tee for a 17-point haul as South Africa proved too good for the French opponents.
With the win, SA also ensured they finished top of Group A after their third and final match.
Fullback Louis Bielle-Biarrey opened the scoring for France in the 20th minute, sprinting away from the SA defence and darting over in the corner. Flyhalf Léo Barre nailed the conversion to see his side out to a 7-0 lead.
South Africa replied in the 25th minute with centre Suleiman Hartzenberg receiving the ball at pace five metres out to grab a try. Flyhalf Sacha Mngomezulu nudged over the conversion to level the scores (7-7).
From the restart, South Africa were looking more confident after opening the score and put together a number of phases in the France 22 before flank Ruan Venter barged his way over to put his side ahead for the first time in the clash. Having scored next to the posts, Mngomezulu slotted the easy conversion to make 14-7.
After camping in the SA 22, and a disallowed try for a double movement – France powered their way over from a line out with hooker Connor Sa dotting down. Barre missed the conversion, but France lurked just two points behind (14-12).
On the stroke of half time Mngomezulu was successful with a penalty as SA went into the break 17-12 ahead.
Right after the interval, France hit back with a penalty through Barre to make it a two-point game once more (17-15).
With the SA forwards bashing their way through a number of phases on the French try line, the score fell to Venter has he bagged his brace next to the uprights in the 46th minute. Mngomezulu was on target again as SA led 24-15.
Mngomezulu put SA further ahead with a penalty in the 54th minute as they led 27-15.
With SA reduced to 14 men as Juann Else was yellow-carded, France produced a fiery movement at pace and were rewarded as Bielle-Biarrey broke through two tacklers to score next to the posts. Bielle-Biarrey converted his own try to make it 27-22.
— Six Nations Under-20s (@SixNationsU20) July 5, 2022
South Africa were still playing confident rugby as they whipped the ball out Imad Khan on the wing as he bagged a try in the corner. Mngomezulu continued his perfect record as he slotted another kick to make it six from six as his side move into 34-22 lead.
Mngomezulu continued to impress as he kept up his perfect kicking record with a penalty from the halfway line to put his side 15 points ahead (37-22).
Replacement forward Lukhanyo Vokozela came on on the dying minutes of the encounter and swiftly barged his way over for a try – and SA’s fifth of the game. With Mngomezulu having been subbed after his perfect display, SA fullback Donovan Don was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt – but it mattered little at 42-22 ahead.
France quickly replied with a consolation score as replacement Jules Coulon got his name on the scoresheet, and Barre missed the conversion (42-27).
France 27 (12) — Tries: Louis Bielle-Biarrey (2), Connor Sa, Jules Coulon; Conversions: Léo Barre, Bielle-Biarrey; Penalty: Barre
South Africa 42 (17) — Tries: Suleiman Hartzenberg, Ruan Venter (2), Imad Khan, Lukhanyo Vokozela; Conversions: Sacha Mngomezulu (4); Penalties: Mngomezulu (3)