SA Schools coach Chris October has reshuffled his team for their final International Under-18 Series clash against Wales at Drostdy Tegniese Hoërskool in Worcester on Saturday as they look to complete the series unbeaten.
The coach made 10 personnel changes to the starting team that edged out France in George on Tuesday for a 17-13 victory, with several players who starred in their opening clash against England returning to the run-on team.
This included talented flyhalf Brandon Thomson and the powerful front row of Ox Nche, Ruan Kramer and Joseph Dweba. The Du Preez brothers, Daniel and Jean-Luc will also feature in the starting team at flank and lock respectively.
Scrumhalf Marco van Vuren, meanwhile, earns his first start in the series as Justin Phillips and Remu Malan started the previous matches.
The other 13 players in the squad have all been named on the bench, with the coach opting to wait until the game plays out to decide who to call on to make an impact.
Commenting on the changes to the team October said: “This is the best team we could put on the field against the physical and structured Welsh outfit. They offer something different to France and England, so it was a case of horses for courses. But just as the starting team has a role to play, so do the replacements; we are expecting them to make a big impact when they take to the field.”
With the commanding Welsh pack serving as one of their main attacking weapons, the SA Schools forwards, in particular, will have their work cut out if they plan to keep alive hopes of emulating their predecessors’ success with clean-sweep of victories.
The desire to complete the series on a high note aside, the Welsh will still be hurting from their last-minute 17-15 defeat against England on Tuesday, which will fuel their determination to stamp their authority.
Zoning in on the match October admitted that his team had to produce a much more effective performance in the lineouts and scrums especially, following their disappointing showing in those departments against France.
“We have worked hard to rectify our set pieces after last week’s performance and we have faith that the players will stand their ground up front,” said October. “With the Welsh pack being one of their main threats the players realise that they have to match the visitors physically, but we would also like to produce a better performance on attack and defence. This team has immense potential and hopefully they will be able to showcase that and finish the series on a high.”
The SA Schools clash will begin at 15h30, and in the earlier matches Italy meet the Boland Craven Week team at 12h30 and England take on France at 14h00.
SA Schools team vs Wales:
15. Grant Hermanus – Paarl Gymnasium
14. Leolin Zass – Hermanus HS
13. Warrick Gelant – Outeniqua HS
12. Daniel du Plessis – Paul Roos Gymnasium
11. Duhan van der Merwe – Outeniqua HS
10. Brandon Thomson – Ermelo HS
9. Marco van Vuren – Transvalia
8. Rikus Bothma – Paarl Gymnasium (capt)
7. Daniel Du Preez – Kearsney College
6. Jacques Vermeulen – Paarl Gymnasium
5. RG Snyman – Afrikaans Hoër Seuns (Affies)
4. Jean Luc Du Preez – Kearsney College
3. Ruan Kramer – Grey College
2. Joseph Dweba – Florida HS
1. Ox Nche – Louis Botha THS
EW Viljoen – Grey College
Jurie Linde – Afrikaans Hoër Seuns (Affies)
Dewald Human – Outeniqua HS
Remu Malan – Outeniqua HS
Remuoe Rampeta – Louis Botha HTS
Abongile Nonkontwana – St Albans
Conraad van Vuuren – Nelspruit HS
Francois Steyn – Afrikaans Hoër Seuns (Affies)
Thomas du Toit – Paarl Boys High
Thabana Ntsi – Selborne College
Justin Phillips – Waterkloof HS
Malcolm Jaer – Brandwag HS
PJ Toerien – Garsfontein HS