Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux said his team was ready to measure themselves in what will mark their toughest assignment thus far this year when they meet the Argentina U20s in their final Under-20 International Series match at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.
Roux made eight personnel changes to the side that started in their 50-8 victory against the Namibia XV on Saturday, with Phendulani Buthelezi and Francke Horn – who led the side in their last two matches – being named as co-captains.
Fullback Qamani Kota and flyhalf David Coetzer will start their third games in a row, while winger Marnus Potgieter and centre Jay-Cee Nel were the other backs that retained their places in the starting team.
Among the forwards, Buthelezi – who will joins forces with Horn and Sibusiso Sangweni in the loose trio – lock Janko Swanepoel and prop Nkosikhona Masuku retained their starting spots.
The notable inclusion among the replacements was Cell C Sharks flyhalf, Boeta Chamberlain, who attended the Under-19 Junior Springbok assessment camp in November. He will make his first appearance for the team after being drafted into the squad this week as the coaches explore more options at flyhalf.
“We are pleased that we have the opportunity to play three matches in the series, and with all respect to the other teams, I believe this one will be the toughest,” said Roux.
“We are busy building toward finding the best combinations, so we will continue experimenting in this game, and hopefully after this we will be able to finalise the group going to the UK.”
Roux said he is expecting a true test against the World Rugby U20 Championship hosts: “Argentina are physical, and they are currently trying to play a new style of rugby that is very fast. They also have a talented backline and they try to spread the ball across the field, so our defence will have to be up to standard.”
With the clash marking the last chance for Roux to test their structures and new player combinations before their UK tour next week, where they will face England and Wales, he said: “This is a very important match for all of us. We are working toward a game plan that can hopefully win us the World Rugby U20 Championship, and this is another step in that process.”
Georgia and the Namibia XV will kick off the final round of U20 International Series at 14h15, with the Junior Springboks taking on Argentina at 16h00. Both games will be streamed live on DSTV Now, SS.com and SS YouTube, as well as onwww.springboks.rugby.
Roux’s team will face Scotland in their opening World Rugby U20 Championship match in Rosario on Tuesday, 4 June, before taking on Georgia (Saturday, 8 June) and New Zealand (Wednesday, 12 June). The semi-finals will be contested on Monday, 17 June, and the final on Saturday, 22 June.
Junior Springbok team to face Argentina:
15 – Qamani Kota (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
14 – Marnus Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
13 – Jay Cee Nel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
12 – Rikus Pretorius (DHL Western Province)
11 – Caleb Dingaan (Cell C Sharks)
10 – David Coetzer (DHL Western Province)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks)
8 – Francke Horn (co-captain, DHL Western Province)
7 – Phendulani Buthelezi (co-captain, Cell C Sharks)
6 – Sibusiso Sangweni (Xerox Golden Lions)
5 – Janko Swanepoel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4 – Elrigh Louw (Toyota Free State)
3 – Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions)
2 – Dameon Venter (Xerox Golden Lions)
1 – Nkosikhona Masuku (Xerox Golden Lions)
16 – Joe van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
17 – Hanro Jacobs (Cell C Sharks)
18 – Kudzwai Dube (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
19 – Emile van Heerden (Cell C Sharks)
20 – Dylan Richardson (Cell C Sharks)
21 – Jaco Labuschagne (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
22 – Boeta Chamberlain (Cell C Sharks)
23 – Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks)
24 – Celimpilo Gumede (Cell C Sharks)
25 – James Mollentze (Toyota Free State)
26 – Thaakir Abrahams (Cell C Sharks)