Junior Springboks shuffle team for vital French clash
South Africa Under-20 coach, Dawie Theron, has shuffled his team for their vital Pool A match at the IRB Junior World Championship against hosts France on Thursday evening at La Roche-sur-Yon.
The match kicks off at 20:45 and will be televised live on SuperSport.
The Junior Springboks are currently top of their pool with 9 points from two matches and need a victory to book themselves a spot in next week’s two semi-finals.
For the match against JWV hosts France, the South Africans will field a new centre combination, a changed halfback pairing and two different props.
Justin Geduld suffered a mild knee ligament sprain against England and will be rested for this match. Depending on his progress, he will be considered for the next match.
Ungerer had a dental procedure during the week and because he also played in the two previous matches, it was decided to give him a well-deserved rest.
Handré Pollard moves from inside centre to fly half. Rohan Janse van Rensburg moves into the No 12 jersey alongside his Vodacom Blue Bulls team mate Dries Swanepoel, who will now wear the No 13 jersey.
Robert du Preez (The Sharks) moves to the bench to make place for Pollard at No 10 while his provincial team mate Hanco Venter earns his first start of the JWC campaign in place of Stefan Ungerer (also The Sharks).
The new props are Sti Sithole (DHL Western Province) and Marné Coetzee (The Sharks) and the pair replace Luhan de Bruin and Andrew Beerwinkel. Meanwhile, Devon Martinus (prop, Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Percy Williams (scrumhalf, MTN Golden Lions) are both included in the match 23 for the first time.
De Bruin was cited for an incident in the previous fixture against England and was not considered for selection for this match while SARU is appealing the sanction.
Coach Theron said it was necessary to change the team after the same match fifteen did duty against the USA and England.
“We played a tough match against England so it is important that we bring in some fresh legs. This match against France is a crucial one for both teams. We cannot afford to lose because there are still a number of teams who can grab the four semi-final spots.
“We know we are going to face a very brave and passionate French team. They are under pressure because of their loss against England and also because of the expectations of their home fans. They will be highly motivated so we will have to be strong and ready for a huge battle,” said Theron.
The SA Under-20 team to face France on Thursday, 13 June in La Roche-sur-Yon:
15. Cheslin Kolbe (DHL Western Province); 14. Luther Obi (Platinum Leopard); 13. Dries Swanepoel (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 11. Seabelo Senatla (SARU contracted); 10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 9. Hanco Venter (The Sharks); 8. Ruan Steenkamp (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 7. Jacques du Plessis (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 6. Roelof Smit (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 5. Dennis Visser (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 4. Irné Herbst (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 3. Marné Coetzee (The Sharks); 2. Jacques du Toit (Toyota Free State Cheetahs); 1. Sti Sithole (DHL Western Province)
16. Andrew Beerwinkel (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 17. Mike Willemse (DHL Western Province); 18. Jannes Kirsten (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 19. Aidon Davis (EP Kings); 20. Percy Williams (MTN Golden Lions); 21. Robert du Preez (The Sharks); 22. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls); 23. Devon Martinus (MTN Golden Lions)
Some interesting tournament statistics:
Five teams are still unbeaten at JWC 2013 in defending champions South Africa, New Zealand, and last year’s semi-finalists Wales and Argentina plus Ireland.
Seven of the 12 teams at JWC 2013 can, theoretically, still reach the semi-finals.
South Africa continues to head the try-scoring sheets at JWC 2013 with 19 after two rounds. New Zealand is the only other team into double figures, while Fiji and USA remain the only teams yet to have crossed the whitewash.
Seabelo Senatla, the South African flyer, took his try tally to six with a first-half brace against England in La Roche-sur-Yon. Senatla is now just two tries short of the record number of tries in a single JWC which is currently held by All Blacks Zac Guildford (2009) and Julian Savea (2010).
Robert du Preez, the Junior Boks’ fly half, continues to head the conversions chart with eight, two more than his opposite number on day two, Henry Slade of England.