Esterhuizen back for Junior Boks

The Junior Springboks have made six changes to their starting XV for their final pool match against Samoa.

The South Africans need just a solitary point to guarantee progress to the semi-finals and have taken no chances, selecting a strong line-up for their match against the dangerous Samoans.

Captain Handré Pollard will continue his successful halfback partnership with JP Smith, but there are a number of changes elsewhere in the backline. André Esterhuizen's return from concussion has seen Dan Kriel move to outside centre, while his twin brother Jesse has been shifted to fullback where Warrick Gelant makes way. Duhan van der Merwe has been drafted in on the left wing, with Sergeal Petersen changing wings and Lloyd Greeff, a try-scorer against New Zealand, dropping out of the squad completely.

Up front Jean-Luc du Preez will miss the match after suffering a head knock in the victory over the Baby Blacks. His place on the side of the scrum will be taken by Thabo Mabuza, while Jacques Vermuelen returns in place of Cyle Brink in a new-look loose trio. Coach Dawie Theron has also made some alterations to his front row, with Wilco Louw and Pierre Schoeman getting their chance to impress ahead of the knockout stages.

Theron will be aiming to advance out of the group stages with an unbeaten record, noting that momentum is a key aspect in any tournament.

'We have done our homework very thoroughly and will leave nothing to chance. This is a very tough tournament to compete in so you have to be at your best in each match,' claimed Theron.

South Africa U20 – 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan Kriel, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Handré Pollard (c), 9 JP Smith, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Thabo Mabuza, 5 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Subs:16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Warrick Gelant.

Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images