SA Under-20 captain Arno Botha on Wednesday said that the Baby Boks are determined to end their two week tour of Argentina on a high by securing consecutive victories over the Pumas U20 on Thursday when these teams meet up in the second international friendly in Santiago del Estero.
The South Africans ran in five tries during their 46-29 victory over the hosts in their first international played at the Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday. The tourists though conceded an 8-7 defeat in their tour warm up match against an Argentinean XV last Wednesday.
“I was impressed with the character the guys showed during our match against the Argentineans on Saturday, especially as we came from a 10-21 half time deficit to defeat the Pumas in front of their passionate home crowd,” said Botha.
“They are a very proud team, and will certainly be aiming to level matters on Thursday. But our focus this week is about our performance and our preparations, and what we need to do to improve as a team.
“There’s a great vibe within the squad and everyone is well aware of the bigger picture, we all want to be in Italy for the IRB Junior World Championship later this year. We have another chance of impressing the coaches on Thursday and I am sure that the 22 players selected for this game will be aiming to end this tour off on a high.”
SA U20 coach Dawie Theron made five changes to his team for Thursday’s international friendly from the side that secured a 46-29 victory over the Pumas on Saturday.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls’ Ulrich Beyers replaces Riaan Britz at fullback while DHL Western Province scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder earns his first start on tour and will partner flyhalf Johan Goosen as the new halfback combination for the Baby Boks.
Changes have been made to the front row with DHL Western Province prop Steven Kitshoff and Toyota Free State Cheetahs hooker Michael van Vuuren replacing Stephan Kotze and Bongi Mbonambi respectively. Pukke flanker Cornell du Preez is given an opportunity in place of Siya Kolisi who is selected on the bench along with the other six substitutes who all competed during the first international friendly on Saturday.
“We’ve made some changes to the team as a result of our intention to expose as many players as possible to rugby at this level,” said Theron.
“We are also using this opportunity to identify how this team can perform with different players and different combinations selected within the space of four days. We have made steady progress during the last few days here in Argentina and hopefully, the guys will be able to showcase their talent on the field against the Pumas.
“A few of these guys will get their first chance at Under-20 level, so it’s important to see how they adapt to the conditions tomorrow.”
South Africa U20 (representative unions in brackets):
15. Ulrich Beyers (Blue Bulls)
14. Courtnall Skosan (Blue Bulls)
13. Bradley Moolman (Blue Bulls)
12. Francois Venter (Blue Bulls)
11. Wandile Mjekevu (Golden Lions)
10. Johan Goosen (Free State)
9. Ricky Schroeder (Western Province)
8. Arno Botha – c (Blue Bulls)
7. Cornell du Preez (Leopards)
6. Nizaam Carr (Western Province)
5. Eben Etzebeth (Western Province)
4. Carl Wegner (Free State)
3. John Roy Jenkinson (Platinum Leopards)
2. Michael van Vuuren (Free State)
1. Steven Kitshoff (Western Province)
16. Bongi Mbonambi (Blue Bulls)
17. Stephan Kotze (Free State)
18. Ruan Venter (Golden Lions)
19. Siya Kolisa (Western Province)
20. Pieter Rademan (Free State)
21 Johan Welthagen (Leopards)
22. Riaan Britz (Free State)