Australia U20s have registered their first win of the inaugural TRC U20, defeating Junior Springboks 24-19 at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Fullback Shane Wilcox starred with two tries while playmakers Cullen Gray and Joey Fowler and winger Angus Staniforth were influential in the five-point win.

South Africa were reduced to 14 men in the 19th minute after an illegal cleanout saw Mbasa Maqubela red carded but threatened to steal the game late with Litelihle Bester scoring a second half double.

Ill discipline proved the Junior Springboks downfall late as Bathobele Hlekani saw yellow for collapsing a maul, gifting Australia a crucial penalty try.

Earlier, the sides played out a scoreless opening 28 minutes with Staniforth dangerous on the attack with two early line breaks.

A Cullen Gray penalty finally opened the scoring before the Junior Springboks hit back through JF van Heerden from close range.

Trailing 7-3, Australia found space through Gray, who broke the line from 50 metres out to set up Wilcox’s first try in the 34th minute, setting up a 10-7 half time lead.

The second half opened much last the first with a scoreless 20-minute period before Bester scorched onto a lovely short ball and through the defence from close range.

Not to be outdone, Australia hit back with Staniforth showing a clean pair of hands and heels down the right touchline to set up Wilcox’s second in the 65th minute.

A 72nd minute rolling maul resulted in a penalty try and Hlekani’s sin binning to put the hosts ahead 24-14 before Bester’s second against the run of play set up a grandstand finish.

A disappointed Junior Springbok head coach Bafana Nhleko bemoaned his team’s error-rate and not keeping the pressure up in their heart-breaking defeat against Australia in the second round of the U20 Rugby Championship on Tuesday.

The match was yet again played at a wet Sunshine Coast Stadium, where the Junior Boks showed great fighting spirit until the final whistle despite a red card in the first half, and a yellow card towards the end of the encounter.

“The disappointing thing is that we actually managed to build pressure at times, but then consistently released that pressure,” said Nhleko.

“As JF (van Heerden, captain) said, we played against ourselves but fair credit to Australia for capitalising on our errors and their set piece ascendancy.

“It was frustrating that we managed to get ourselves into the right areas of the field, but we let ourselves down with our execution. We don’t want it to be a recurring theme, so we need to get it right.”

“Australia took their opportunities and deserved to win, but the cards had the effect that our pack played for approximately 30 minutes with seven players, which obviously hurt us by sapping our energy,” said Nhleko.

“We will have a good review, and as much as we are disappointed with tonight’s outcome, I do believe the players have the skill and ability compared to what we saw today. We have to find the character to show it against Argentina. Today was a tough experience, but we will pick ourselves up and prepare for Argentina.”

Australia U20 24 [Tries: S Wilcox 2; Penalty try: 1; Cons: C Gray; J Fowler; Pens: C Gray] Junior Springboks 19 [Tries: L Bester, JF van Heerden; Cons: T Williams 2]

Junior Springboks: 15 Michail Damon, 14 Joshua Boulle, 13 Jurenzo Julius (vice-captain), 12 Philip-Albert van Niekerk, 11 Litelihle Bester, 10 Thurlon Williams, 9 Asad Moos, 8 Tiaan Jacobs, 7 Keanu Coetsee, 6 Divan Fuller, 5 JF van Heerden (captain), 4 Bathobele Hlekani, 3 Reno Hirst, 2 Ethan Bester, 1 Mbasa Maqubela
Replacements: 16 CJ Erasmus, 17 Liyema Ntshanga, 18 Casper Badenhorst, 19 Adam de Waal, 20 Thabang Mphafi, 21 Hassiem Pead , 22 Bruce Sherwood, 23 JC Mars

Australia U20: 1. Jack Barrett, 2. Otavio Tuipulotu, 3. Nick Bloomfield, 4. Toby Macpherson [c], 5. Oliver McRea, 6. Ben Di Staso, 7. Dan Sawers, 8. Jack Harley, 9. Hwi Sharples, 10. Cullen Gray, 11. Angus Staniforth, 12. Ronan Leahy [vc], 13. Frankie Goldsbrough, 14. Kauri Tipene-Grace, 15. Shane Wilcox
Replacements: 16. Lington Ieli, 17. Bryn Edwards, 18. Tevita Alatini, 19. Harvey Cordukes, 20. Joe Liddy, 21. Doug Philipson, 22. Joey Fowler, 23. David Palu.