The IRB Junior World Championship title will be decided between South Africa and New Zealand after both countries recorded convincing victories in the semi-finals of the event in Cape Town on Sunday.
In their semi-final, unlike in their last match against England, the Baby Boks got themselves in front early on and kept up the pressure on previously unbeaten Argentina to run out comfortable 35-3 winners.
The South Americans had previously beaten Australia 15-3, France 18-15 and Scotland 17-12.
New Zealand, meanwhile, went 6-0 behind Wales, to whom they had lost 6-9 in pool play. From that point on, however, it was the Kiwis all the way as they ran out 30-6 winners.
Assessing his team's performance in the win over Argentina, coach Dawie Theron told the South African Rugby Union his charges had adapted well to the changing weather conditions, which included rain, and had won because of their hard-tackling defence.
"We again did not concede a try, even though Argentina hammered at our line. It was a massive effort by the team to keep them scoreless and I am very proud of the effort," he said.
The foundation for the Baby Boks' victory was laid up front, both in the tight and in the loose, where they had the edge on Argentina.
Stormers' loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff, before he was replaced with the game in hand, proved a massive handful for the Argentinians at scrum time, while the tall timber in the South African team took charge of the lineouts.
Thanks to their hard-hitting defence, the South Africans soon left Argentina looking rudderless and uncertain how to break through the sturdy wall of green and gold.
Pieter-Steph du Toit, who started the game at flank and ended it at lock, was outstanding throughout and has a remarkable workout for such a big man. His counterpart on the opposite side of the scrum, Shaun Adendorff, delivered a busy performance, while eighthman Fabian Booysen's support play stood out.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard, who is still in school at Paarl Gym, controlled the game well and when he was replaced by Tony Jantjes with victory certain, the younger brother of Lions' flyhalf Elton Jantjes continued to direct matters effectively.
Jan Serfontein was again a powerhouse in the South African midfield, although he did at times hold onto the ball when it would have been better to send it down the backline.
Out of the final
His midfield partner William Small-Smith performed well too, but was carted away from the field late in the game after suffering ligament damage to a leg. Unfortunately, he was later been ruled out of the final.
South Africa lost wing Paul Jordaan to a problem hamstring early on, but his replacement Raymond Rhule was outstanding in the Sharks star's place, scoring two tries.
"Raymond played a great match and I am very happy for him, as he stayed positive at a time when he was not picked. He ran some great lines and the team found the balance between attack and kick," remarked Theron.
Fullback Dylan Leyds provided some elusive and exciting runs from the back.
Pollard got the scoreboard moving with an early penalty before Argentina's Sebastien Poet was wide with two kicks at goal he would have expected to make.
Jan Serfontein crashed over for South Africa's first try in the 21st minute after the forwwards had powered their wau up to the Argentinian try line before releasing the ball to the left where the centre sliced between two defenders to score.
Pollard converted to make it South Africa 10, Argentina 0.
Five minutes from the break, the Baby Boks drove over from a lineout five metres out, with hooker Mark Pretorius netting the try.
With the half-time whistle imminent, Rhule ran an excellent line to cut through the South Americans' defence on the 22-metre line and race over for a try that was converted by Pollard, which made it 22-0.
Early in the second half, after Poet had landed a penalty for Argentina, Rhule was at it again, taking a flat pass in a gap to run in a five-pointer in the corner.
Jantjes added two late penalties to take the home team to a 35-3 victory, much to the delight of the crowd.
Wian Liebenberg, who captained South Africa in their opening match, came on as a substitute after having missed the win over England with a wrist injury. He told the IRB: "It feels great. It's good to see the hard work pay off. The guys played well tonight and we practiced hard, so I do believe we earned it to be in the final."
'The atmosphere was amazing'
Coach Theron complimented the crowd, saying: "The atmosphere was amazing. It was amazing against England as well, and against Ireland as well.
"We love to play in front of our home crowd at home, and we're a very proud rugby nation and, yes, we knew that we had to get the blend right and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves."
Looking ahead to the final, Theron said: "Well it's going to be tough. Both [teams are] rugby nations and both of them want to get their hands on the trophy, and that's why it's going to be a real tough occasion.
"It's going to be a wonderful but tough rugby match."
Friday, 22 June
- 12:00 University of the Western Cape
- Scotland vs Samoa - 9th place playoff
- 14:15 University of the Western Cape
- Italy vs Fiji 11th - place playoff
- 14:15 Newlands Rugby Stadium
- Ireland vs France - 5th place playoff
- 16:30 University of the Western Cape
- England vs Australia - 7th place playoff
- 16:30 Newlands Rugby Stadium
- Argentina vs Wales - 3rd place playoff
- 18:45 Newlands Rugby Stadium
- South Africa vs New Zealand - Final