Damian Willemse (left) is one of several skillful players in the Junior Springboks squad. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Damian Willemse (left) is one of several skillful players in the Junior Springboks squad. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Junior Springboks backline coach Mzwandile Stick. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix
Junior Springboks backline coach Mzwandile Stick. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

WITH such skillful and exciting players like Curwin Bosch, Stedman Gans, Wandisile Simelane, Yaw Penxe, Manie Libbock, Damian Willemse and Gianni Lombard to pick from it’s no surprise the Junior Boks coaching staff will be hoping they see more front foot ball when they face Georgia in their second match at the World Rugby U20 Championship on Sunday.

The star-studded South African backline struggled in the wind and rain – and against a fired up French side – in their opening encounter in Tibilisi, Georgia on Wednesday and only a late converted try saved their blushes.

The 23-all draw was a lucky escape by the South Africans, who were on the back foot for much of the encounter.

Not only were coach Chean Roux’s men dominated up front, but the backs hardly saw ball of any kind. They’ll be keen to set the record straight when they face the hosts on Sunday.

Backs coach Mzwandile Stick said getting the likes of Bosch and Co into the action would be key in the build-up to the match.

“One of the things we need to work on going forward is to try to get the ball to the wider channels,” said Stick in the build-up to the Junior Boks’ second match.

“We tried to do it a few times against France, but we lost the ball. So we will certainly look to tighten the screws in the next few days.”

Team management was also working around the clock to ensure the players are in perfect shape for the Georgia match, which comes just four days after the opener.

“We made sure that we did all the hard work back home because we knew that there would be a quick turnaround between matches,” said Stick.

“But that said, good recovery will be essential. Every game we play now will be like a final. Georgia played well against Argentina (in their opener), and the home crowd here is very passionate, so we have to step up our performance against them.”

Loose forward Nama Xaba was limping during the game on Wednesday and scrumhalf Rewan Kruger suffered a hamstring injury, while a few other players are also nursing bumps and bruises, according to Stick.

“But we will have to wait for our medical team to provide clarity on the seriousness of the injuries,” he said.

The match on Sunday kicks off at 4pm, while the Junior Boks’ final pool game is next Thursday against Argentina.

Independent Media

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