A try by Divan Kotze three minutes from time, allied with four penalties from the boot of Francois Brummer, had given South Africa U20 a 19-13 victory over France U20 before 3,000 spectators at the Stade Bobin in Bondoufle on 16th April. Then on Saturday it was the turn of France U19 to face the junior Springboks in Epernay with the visitors again coming from behind to secure a 17-17 draw with Jean Jacques Rossouw and Ralph Koster scoring their two tries.
France U20 may have narrowly lost their match, but for Team Manager Philippe Sella the opportunity to play South Africa U20 and see how players in contention for the IRB Junior World Championship fared was important.
"It [the match] will allow us to see certain players who've been out with injury … to have a more precise idea of the squad for the Junior World Championship," the former France centre explained in the build up to the match. "We've had three days together … it's a bit like preparing for a Barbarians test and we'll be able to see how the players cope with those conditions.
"The JWC team is not yet finalised. We have certain players who are definitely in but by the same token lots of decisions to make and we need to see the players play more. We've probably got three quarters of our names sorted but we've got certain positions where two or more players are really causing us problems."
South Africa U20 and France U20 are not the only teams playing matches as part of their preparations as Argentina U20 will play Mendoza on Wednesday as coaches Eduardo Fernández Gill, Eduardo Viazzo and Diego Albanese look to finalise their squad.