SA Schools coach Lance Sendin and SA Schools A coach Sean Erasmus on Thursday named their teams for the opening round of the Under-19 International Series at City Park Stadium in Crawford, Cape Town, on Friday.
The SA Schools team will face Wales at 15h00 and the SA Schools A team takes on Italy at 13h30. In the other fixture England and France clash at 12h00. All three matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 (channel 201).
With the bulk of the 26-man SA Schools squad being made up of DHL Western Province players, who took top honours in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week for the second successive year, Sendin had the luxury of selecting a few settled player combinations.
The DHL Western Province loose trio of Charl Serdyn, Muller Uys and Khanya Ncusane will form a solid looseforward combination, while their provincial counterparts, fullback Gianni Lombard and wing Mike Mavovana, will also form a key combination at the back along with left wing Sihle Njezula from Eastern Province.
The front-row pairing of Bidvest Golden Lions prop Nathan McBeth and hooker PJ Botha, who will pack down with Eastern Province Country Districts prop Sazi Sandi, will also be vital against the Welsh pack.
“Given the limited time to prepare for the tournament, it was important to select a few settled player combinations, while at the same time trying to name the strongest possible team,” said Sendin.
“Unfortunately a few players had flu this week and had to be managed, which also influenced our team selection. That said, we would like to give the players on the bench a good run as well in the match.”
Commenting on the threat posed by Wales, Sendin said: “Wales have come all the way to South Africa and they will be determined to win. The fact that they have played together before will certainly give them confidence. Their rush defence is very good and they have a strong pack of forwards, so they will look to dominate up front, and we are expecting them to use their rolling maul often, so we have to be wary of that.”
Erasmus also selected a few settled combinations in his starting team to face Italy, with Enrista Blue Bulls fullback Abner van Reenen, wing Austin Davids and captain and centre Louritz Van der Schyff joining forces. In the front row, the familiarity between Sharks hooker Dylan Richardson and prop Gugu Nelani will add stability in the front row.
“We selected a team we thought we would be best suited to way we plan to play against Italy,” said Erasmus.
“We are expecting a physical onslaught from them in the first 20 minutes and a free-flowing game in general. They are a passionate nation and that will certainly show in the way they play, so this will be a tough test for us.”
With the U19 International Series serving as a platform to expose young players to top-class rugby from a young age, all six teams have been allowed to name match-day squads of 26 players. However, only eight replacements may be used on the day.
SA Schools team to face Wales:
|15||Gianni Lombard||DHL Western Province|
|14||Mike Mavovana||DHL Western Province|
|13||Wandisile Simelane||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|12||Rikus Pretorius||Bizhub Free State|
|11||Sihle Njezula||Eastern Province|
|10||Damian Willemse||DHL Western Province|
|9||Rewan Kruger||Bizhub Free State|
|8||Khanya Ncusane||DHL Western Province|
|7||Muller Uys||DHL Western Province|
|6||Charl Serdyn||DHL Western Province|
|5||PJ Steenkamp||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|4||Salmaan Moerat (captain)||DHL Western Province|
|3||Sazi Sandi||Eastern Province CD|
|2||PJ Botha||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|1||Nathan McBeth||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|16||Daniel Jooste||DHL Western Province|
|17||Reece Bezuidenhout||DHL Western Province|
|18||Johan Neethling||DHL Western Province|
|19||Ben-Jason Dixon||DHL Western Province|
|21||Richman Gora||Thepa Trading Griffons|
|22||Ruan de Swardt||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|23||Manuel Rass||DHL Western Province|
|24||Muller du Plessis||DHL Western Province|
|25||Emilio Adonis||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|26||Khwezi Mafu||Eastern Province|
SA Schools A team to face Italy:
|15||Abner van Reenen||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|14||Austin Davids||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|13||Louritz Van der Schyff (captain)||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|12||Sicelo Tole||Eastern Province|
|11||Cameron Hufke||GWK Griquas|
|10||Lubabalo Dobela||Eastern Province|
|8||Jessie Johnson||DHL Western Province|
|7||Mark Snyman||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|6||Athi Magwala||DHL Western Province|
|5||Christopher Havenga||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|4||Jaco van Tonder||Bizhub Free State|
|3||Mornay Smith||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|16||Schalk Erasmus||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|17||Cabous Eloff||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|18||Keagan Glade||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|19||Juan van der Mescht||Sharks|
|20||Ryno Pieterse||Enrista Blue Bulls|
|21||Dian Schoonees||Bizhub Free State|
|22||Zinedine Booysen||SWD Eagles|
|23||Tyrone Green||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|24||Tadendaishe Mujawo||Bidvest Golden Lions|
|25||Janco van Heyningen||Bizhub Free State|
|26||Ayabonga Oliphant||Eastern Province|