Junior Boks ready for Japan

Junior Boks coach Dawie Theron has named his 23-man squad to face Japan in their opening match of the World Rugby U20 Championships on Tuesday.

Theron has made just two changes to his starting XV that played against SWD in their final warm-up match in Oudtshoorn last month.

Centre and captain Jeremy Ward will be partnered in the midfield by JT Jackson, who was part of last year’s Junior Boks squad, shifting Franco Naudé to the bench.

In the front row, Jaco Holtzhausen will start at tighthead ahead of Carlü Sadie, who moves to the bench.

‘We selected a strong team to lay the foundation for our campaign against a highly-motivated Japan side,' said Theron. ‘These players all proved their worth in the warm-up matches as individuals and as combinations, and we are excited by what they can do if they play to their potential.

‘The players have settled in well since we arrived in Manchester,’ Theron added. ‘I have been pleased with the quality of our training sessions and the players’ attitude, and hopefully they will transfer that onto the field on Tuesday.

‘We expect Japan to be motivated, competitive and they will try to run at us. They will also put a lot of effort into the set pieces, so we are anticipating a tough challenge all around.’

The match kicks off at 16:15 (SA time) on Tuesday and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1.

Junior Springboks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward (c), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Mosolwa Mafuma, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 James Hall, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Zain Davids, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Jaco Holtzhausen, 2 Tango Balekile, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Subs: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Franco van den Berg, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Ruben de Villiers, 20 Denzel Hill, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Keanu Vers.

Photo: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images