Henco van Wyk will be the only Junior Springbok to earn a consecutive start when South Africa, featuring a new captain, take on Georgia in Stellenbosch on Monday.
The midfielder starred and scored in his team’s 33-26 win over Argentina last Wednesday and will again start against the European side, who is still looking for a first win following defeats by Argentina and Uruguay.
Junior Bok head coach Bafana Nhleko opted for a vastly different team from the one that remained undefeated so far, courtesy of wins over Uruguay and Argentina, swapping a number of players, including the complete leadership group of George Cronje (No 8), Jordan Hendrikse (flyhalf) and Sasko Ndlovu (flank), who will all be called on from the extended bench.
This results in hooker Jacques Goosen leading the team, with Van Wyk deputising.
“We were going to give everyone a run anyway, so the changes are all in line with our planning and a decision we took at the beginning of the competition. We also needed to manage some players with game time, as most of them have not played rugby for quite a while,” Nhleko explained.
“This will be a wonderful opportunity for those getting a first start to experience test rugby at U20 level, while others will be able to build on the improving performances we have seen from the group.”
On debut are centre Mambo Mhkize and flyhalf Sacha Mngomezulu, while Kian Meadon(fullback), Dalvon Blood (wing), Nico Steyn (scrumhalf), Rynard Mouton (flank) and Sibusiso Shongwe (tighthead) all earn first starts.
“I am very happy for Mambo and Sacha to make their debuts and starting at that. Both worked extremely hard when not part of the playing squad and contributed well to their supporting roles. They now have the chance to shine, and I believe they will do very well.”
Nhleko said his decision to make Goosen captain was an easy one. “Jacques captained SA Schools two years ago and Henco was captain of SA Schools Sevens, so both bring good leadership to the squad, especially with the official leadership group only involved in the match only later on.”
Georgia will test them, despite those defeats in the previous pool matches, Nhleko said.
“They got tired in the second half of both those matches, so we will look to play at a high tempo. Except for the two debutants, everyone in our squad had either started a match or played off the bench in both games so will know how to handle the intensity and managing our gameplan. We will focus on how we want to play, but what we have seen from them so far is that patience on attack will be key. They are a hard team to break down, so we must keep plugging away until they fall off the pace of the game.”
- Wing Canan Moodie has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament with a jaw fracture sustained against Argentina. Prop Jan-Hendrik Wessels is rested for this match, but will be ready for next Saturday, when the final two matches of the series will be played.
Kick-off for Monday’s game is at 1pm.
Junior Springboks – 15 Kian Meadon, 14 Curwin Gertse, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Mambo Mkhize, 11 Dalvon Blood, 10 Sacha Mngomezulu, 9 Nico Steyn, 8 Izan Esterhuizen, 7 Siya Ningiza, 6 Rynard Mouton, 5 Dylan de Leeuw, 4 Raynard Roets, 3 Sibusiso Shongwe, 2 Jacques Goosen (c), 1 Nolan Pienaar.
Subs (from): Andre-Hugo Venter, Blaine Golden, Corne Weilbach (nominated front row), Simon Miller, Reinhardt Ludwig, Sasko Ndlovu, George Cronje, Bradley Davids, Bobby Alexander, Jordan Hendrikse, Ethan James, Tyler Bocks, Quan Horn.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Image