Three Junior Boks rookies to debut at World Rugby Under-20 championships
CAPE TOWN – Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux has named three uncapped players in his run-on side for their World Rugby Under-20 Championship opener against Scotland in Argentina today (kick-off 3.30pm).
Vaughen Isaacs, Angelo Davids and Dian Bleuler will make their Junior Springbok debuts at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario, with Keagan Glade also set to earn his first cap if he comes off the bench.
While it will be his international bow in Fifteens, Davids, wing, made his Springbok Sevens debut in Hong Kong earlier this year, and it didn’t take him long to shine on the circuit.
All 28 squad members were named in the match-day squad. However, only eight players on the expanded bench will be allowed to take to the field as replacements.
“We were lucky enough to play with most of these combinations during our UK tour,” said Roux. “A few players joined us after the tour, but we have been training for the last 10 days with the starting team in mind, so the combinations are working well.
“There is a lot of excitement in the group, and the players cannot wait to take to the field. We have been preparing for the tournament for a while now, so it time to get to down to business and start playing.”
The challenge the Scots will present at the set-piece is one thing, but it’s not the only area Roux wants his team to watch out for.
“Scotland are a well-drilled team,” said Roux.
“They were unlucky in one or two U20 Six Nations matches, so one cannot read too much into that tournament. Their preparation has been good coming into the competition, and they are a well-coached side, so we need to be up for the challenge come game time.”
“We have worked hard on set phases, so hopefully we will be able to execute that well and give our backs a good platform to attack from. It is also vital to take our point-scoring chances when they arise.”
A good start will be crucial, as only the top team in each of the three pools and the next best-placed team in terms of log points will advance to the semi-finals.
The Junior Springboks will face Georgia in their second pool match on Saturday, June 8, and will wrap up the pool stages against New Zealand on Wednesday, June 12. Both matches will be played at the Racecourse Stadium.
The Junior Springbok team to face Scotland:
15 Vaughen Isaacs
14 Angelo Davids
13 Marnus Potgieter
12 Rikus Pretorius (vice-captain)
11 Caleb Dingaan
10 James Mollentze
9 Jaden Hendrikse
8 Francke Horn (captain)
7 Phendulani Buthelezi
6 Jaco Labuschagne
5 Emile van Heerden
4 JJ van der Mescht
3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye
2 Fezokuhle Mbatha
1 Dian Bleuler
16 Dameon Venter
17 Kudzwai Dube
18 Keagan Glade
19 Thabiso Mdletshe
20 Elrigh Louw
21 Dylan Richardson
22 David Kriel
23 Sanele Nohamba
24 Celimpilo Gumede
25 David Coetzer
26 Zwelendaba Mnombo
27 Sibusiso Sangweni
28 Thaakir Abrahams@WynonaLouw