The Junior Springboks are hard at work training ahead of their game against Ireland. Photo: @JuniorBoks via Twitter

Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux says their defence needs to be on-point against Ireland on Sunday (kick-off 4.30 pm, SS5) in their second match of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships in France.

Ireland suffered a heartbreaking 24-26 defeat against France on Wednesday, which makes their match against the Junior Boks a must-win if they want to progress to the semi-finals.

The three top teams in each pool along with the next-best placed team will make up the semi-final fixtures.

So it's understandable that Roux is expecting a big onslaught from Ireland when they meet in Narbonne today.

"Ireland are a territory driven team, and they like to dominate with their forwards in the lineouts and scrums," said Roux. 

"So our defence has to be solid and we need to oppose their counter-attacks.

"We need to come to the party in this game and hopefully we can do that."

Roux made four changes to the matchday squad that did duty against Georgia, and two of those changes were injury enforced as winger Sihle Nejzula and centre Rikus Pretorius suffered ankle injuries in their opener.

Springbok Sevens player Muller du Plessis will start on the left wing, while Lyle Hendricks will partner up with Wandisile Simelane in midfield.

The other changes are in the pack, where Asenathi Ntlabakanye comes in for Sazi Sandi, and in the back row, where Ben-Jason Dixon takes over from PJ Steenkamp.

Sandi and Steenkamp have been named on the bench, with the only new face among the replacements being centre Manuel Rass.

"We lost two players to injury, and hopefully they will be back in contention for selection as the competition progresses," said Roux. 

"But we have suitable substitutes for them and their selection is just reward for the hard work they have put in.

"The other changes were once again a case of selecting combinations that we thought would be best suited to the challenge that Ireland poses."

The Junior Springboks will face hosts, France, in their final pool match in Narbonne on Thursday, June 7.

Junior Springboks: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Muller du Plessis, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Dian Schoonees, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Nathan McBeth

Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ruan Vermaak, 20 PJ Steenkamp, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Lulbabalo Dobela, 23 Manuel Rass.


IOL Sport

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