Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux made four changes to his team for their second World Rugby U20 Championship match against Ireland on Sunday at Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitié in Narbonne in the south of France.
Two of the changes were injury enforced as winger Sihle Nejzula and centre Rikus Pretorius suffered ankle injuries against Georgia. Springbok Sevens player Muller du Plessis will start on the left wing, while Lyle Hendricks will partner up with Wandisile Simelane in the midfield respectively.
The other changes were at tighthead prop where Asenathi Ntlabakanye comes in for Sazi Sandi, and at flanker where Ben-Jason Dixon takes over from PJ Steenkamp. Sandi and Steenkamp have been named among the replacements, with the only new face on the bench being centre Manuel Rass.
“We lost two players to injury, and hopefully they will be back in contention for selection as the competition progresses,” said Roux. “But we have suitable substitutes for them and their selection is just reward for the hard work they have put in.
“The other changes were once again a case of selecting combinations that we thought would be best suited to the challenge that Ireland poses.”
Roux expected a big onslaught from Ireland, who will be determined to register their first victory of the competition to keep themselves in contention for a possible semi-final spot after going down against France in their opening match.
With the top team in each pool and the single next-best placed team in the competition at the conclusion of the pool stages advancing to the semi-finals, every match is vital in the tournament.
“Ireland are a territory driven team, and they like to dominate with their forwards in the lineouts and scrums,” said Roux. “So our defence has to be solid and we need to oppose their counter-attacks.
“We need to come to the party in this game and hopefully we can do that.”
The match kicks off at 16h30 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 5.
The Junior Springboks will face hosts, France, in their final pool match in Narbonne on Thursday, 7 June.
Junior Springbok team to face Ireland:
15 – Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions)
14 – Tyrone Green (Xerox Golden Lions)
13 – Wandisile Simelane (Xerox Golden Lions)
12 – Lyle Hendricks (DHL Western Province)
11 – Muller du Plessis (Cell C Sharks)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Western Province)
9 – Zak Burger (Cell C Sharks)
8 – Muller Uys (DHL Western Province)
7 – Ben-Jason Dixon (DHL Western Province)
6 – Dian Schoonees (Xerox Golden Lions)
5 – Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4 – Salmaan Moerat (capt – DHL Western Province)
3 – Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions)
2 – Daniel Jooste (DHL Western Province)
1 – Nathan McBeth (Xerox Golden Lions)
16 – Schalk Erasmus (DHL Western Province)
17 – Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province)
18 – Sazi Sandi (DHL Western Province)
19 – Ruan Vermaak (Xerox Golden Lions)
20 – PJ Steenkamp (Xerox Golden Lions)
21 – Rewan Kruger (Toyota Free State)
22 – Lulbabalo Dobela (Toyota Free State)
23 – Manuel Rass (Xerox Golden Lions)