CAPE TOWN - Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux says Friday's warm-up game against Georgia will serve as the perfect opportunity to see what his team can do as they prepare for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in France.
The Junior Boks will face the Georgians - who the South Africans will also meet in the tournament opener - at the Markotter Fields at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch (4pm kickoff) before the international tournament kicks off later this month.
The team’s starting line-up - captained by former SA Schools skipper Salmaan Moerat - includes five players who were members of the SA U20 team that finished third in the competiton in Tbilisi, Georgia, last year. They are Moerat, fullback Gianni Lombard, centre Wandisile Simelane, scrumhalf Rewan Kruger and No 8 Muller Uys.
A total of 12 former SA Schools players have been included in the matchday 23, with those outside of the capped Baby Boks being props Sazi Sandi and Nkosikhona Masuku, loose forwards PJ Steenkamp, JC Pretorius and Phendulani Buthelezi, wing Sihle Njezula, and centre Rikus Pretorius.
The global tournament is scheduled for the south of France from 30 May to 17 June. Roux’s team will play five internationals in the lead-up to the tournament.
The first two matches will be against World Rugby U20 Championship pool opponents Georgia in Cape Town on back-to-back Fridays, with the second on 20 April, before meeting Scotland in Edinburgh on 4 May, Wales in Cardiff on 8 May, and England in London on 11 May on their tour to the UK, which will serve as preparation for the championships.
Junior Boks having a gentle walk-through ahead of their match against Georgia at Paul Roos Gymnasium on Friday. The match begins at 4pm and entry is free #buildingboks @Springboks pic.twitter.com/seU8lxc18r
The players that feature in today’s contest will earn Baby Bok caps.
“We have a group of determined and competitive players in camp, which is exciting because everyone is keen to prove themselves for places in the final squad of 28 that will participate in the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Roux.
“Georgia are tough, so it is great to have a few players who were in last year’s squad to offer experience and guidance on the field. The SA Schools experience will also be of great value to the players who are playing at this level for the first time, so we are excited to see what this squad can do.”
Junior Springbok team to face Georgia: Gianni Lombard, Tyrone Green, Wandisile Simelane, Rikus Pretorius, Sihle Njezula, Lubabalo Dobela, Rewan Kruger, Muller Uys, PJ Steenkamp, Dian Schoonees, Ruan Nortje, Salmaan Moerat, Sazi Sandi, Schalk Erasmus, Alulutho Tshakweni. Bench: PJ Botha, Nkosikhona Masuku, Cohen Kiewit, JC Pretorius, Phendulani Buthelezi, Zak Burger, Abner van Reenen, Lyle Hendricks