Dan Kriel will play on the right wing for the Junior Springboks in the IRB Junior World Championship final against England on Friday night at Eden Park in Auckland.
His inclusion in place of Lloyd Greeff is the only tweak to the team that beat New Zealand in a dramatic semi-final last Sunday in North Harbour. The versatile Kriel, twin brother of outside centre Jesse Kriel, is preferred in the starting line-up because of his huge work rate on defence.
Amongst the replacements, big flanker Jean Luc du Preez was declared fit after completing his rehabilitation programme following a blow to the head against New Zealand in Albany during a pools match. He replaces Abongile Nonkontwana.
Junior Springbok skipper and pivot Handré Pollard is now playing in his third tournament so is under no illusion as to what will be key to more success at Eden Park.
“I think at the end of the day it is going to be the side that wants it the most that is going to win it,” admitted Pollard, who is the leading point scorer at both JWC 2014 and also in the competition’s history.
“Set piece is the biggest thing going into the final. I know how 2012 was won, we had 17 lineouts and we won all 17 of them. It is something you can’t go without in a final, the set piece. It is also the conversion rate you have, you have got to get down there and get points, whether it is three, five or seven – just get points whenever you go down to the opposition’s half.”
Junior Bok coach Dawie Theron said England will be a formidable opponent. “They are a good side and have progressed to the final without losing a match. It’s going to be a titanic battle on Friday,” according to Theron.
On Thursday evening SARU President Regan Hoskins visited the team at their Auckland hotel to wish them well for the final.
Hosts New Zealand will play Ireland in the third place play-off before the final.
The fifth place final between France and Australia will be the first contest of the day at Eden Park, and the other positional games will be played at QBE Stadium North Harbour
The Junior Springbok team to face England in the JWC Final on Friday at Eden Park:
15. Warrick Gelant
14. Dan Kriel
13. Jessie Kriel
12. Andre Esterhuizen
11. Sergeal Petersen
10. Handré Pollard (captain)
9. JP Smith
8. Aidon Davis
7. Cyle Brink
6. Jacques Vermeulen
5. Nico Janse van Rensburg
4. JD Schickerling
3. Dayan van der Westhuizen
2. Corniel Els
1. Thomas du Toit
16. Joseph Dweba
17. Pierre Schoeman
18. Wilco Louw
19. Victor Sekekete
20. Jean Luc du Preez
21. Zee Mkhabela
22. Jean Luc du Preez
23. Duhan van der Merwe
Kick-off: 19h35 (09h35 SA time)
Live on SuperSport 1