SA Schools coach Chris October made wholesale changes to his starting team to face France in the International Under-18 Series at Outeniqua Park in George on Tuesday as he looks to give all his players a chance to prove their worth.
Only five players who featured in the starting line-up against England last Friday retained their places for the clash, with several being included on the bench. Those named in the starting team include captain and No8 Rikus Bothma, wing Duhan van der Merwe, centre Warrick Gelant, fullback EW Viljoen and lock RG Snyman.
The starting 15 includes four local Outeniqua High School players, who will be determined to impress their home crowd. This quartet comprises the exciting halfback pairing of Dewald Human and Remu Malan, Van der Merwe and Gelant, who switches from outside centre to inside centre for the clash.
Commenting on his squad, October said: “It was our plan from the outset to use the squad system throughout the series and these changes are in line with that. Every player in the squad has the talent and skills to play at this level, so it is fair that everyone receives the chance to prove their worth. We also have our four Outeniqua High School players in the squad, which should add an exciting dimension as they are familiar with the environment and will have extra motivation to make their presence felt.”
With the French team coming off a defeat against Wales, the coach expected the visitors to come out firing and warned his team against complacency.
“The French side is unpredictable and they come off a defeat against Wales so they will be highly motivated for this clash,” said October. “Therefore it is important that the players enter the clash focused and do not write France off.
“We have worked hard on our kicking game and defence, in particular, this week, and we also zoned in on the breakdowns and lineouts. But in general, I would like the players to be more effective in their execution in all departments and to stick to the structures because we broke away from that at crucial times against England.”
The SA Schools team will line up against France at 18h00, and in the earlier matches England take on Wales at 16h00 and Italy meet the SWD Craven Week team at 14h00.
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