Junior Boks face Argentina test

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iol spt may1 Junior Boks-practice-file Gallo Images File picture: Hooker Arno van Wyk has joined the Junior Springboks in Auckland after a knee injury forced Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions) out of the IRB Junior World Championship. Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – The South Africa Under-20 squad will be able to test their readiness for this year's Junior World Championship (JWC) when they tackle Argentina Under-20 in three international friendly matches in the Western Cape.

The first clash takes place on Friday at 4pm at the Saldanha Bay Rugby Club on the West Coast.

Next Tuesday, the two sided will meet again at the Paul Roos Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch and the final clash is scheduled for the following Saturday at City Park in Crawford, Cape Town.

Dawie Theron, coach of the SA U20, said the matches will give him the ideal opportunity to test the depth of the squad. In addition to that, the squad will also be able to simulate their JWC logistics plan for their three pools matches in New Zealand, in similar tournament-like circumstances.

“We have scheduled the three matches on exactly the same dates as our JWC pool matches (Scotland on June 2, New Zealand on June 6

and Samoa on June 10). The reasoning behind that is so that we can simulate out logistics, training and recovery schedule exactly along the timeframes of our JWC schedule,” explained Theron.

The Junior Boks coach views the annual series against the South Americans as a crucial part of the squad's overall preparation.

“This series against Argentina will give us the ideal opportunity to test the strength, depth and conditioning of the squad. We will therefore strive to give playing time to as many players as possible during the series,” said Theron.

“For instance, for our next match Tuesday in Stellenbosch, we will have a completely different starting line-up. That means that after the second match we would have already started with 30

players.”

According to Theron, the starting line-up for Tuesday will include various players who are involved in this weekend's Vodacom Cup quarterfinal matches.

The SA U20 coach also revealed he will target specifics areas of his game plan during the upcoming series: “These matches gives us the ideal opportunity to test the boys' understanding of our game plan and how well they execute it, against what is no doubt very good opponents.

“Argentina is a side that regularly features in the top four or five at the Junior World Championship, so we will be up against quality opposition.

“I am particularly interested to see how our players execute their kicking game and what they are capable of doing on a defence. Our set pieces will also come under scrutiny.”

Junior Springbok Training Squad:

Pierre Schoeman, Corniel Els, Wilco Louw, JD Schickerling, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Ramone Samuels, Jean Luc du Preez, Aidon Davis, Zee Mkhabela, Jaco van der Walt, Duhan van der Merwe, Daniel du Plessis, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Sergeal Petersen, Warrick Gelant. – Sapa


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