Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko has made several personnel changes for the U20 Six Nations Summer Series final against Wales in Treviso on Tuesday.
Nhleko has selected a new-look front row, with props Corne Lavanga and Corne Weilbach packing down either side of Lukhanyo Vokozela. The other pack change is due to an injury to influential No 8 Cameron Hanekom.
Hanekom hurt his ankle against France and is replaced by Louw Nel, with Siya Ningiza and Gcino Mdletshe providing loose-forward cover on the bench. Merwe Olivier also comes on to the bench as lock alongside Corne Rahl.
In the backline, scrumhalf Nico Steyn gets the starting nod ahead of Neil le Roux, who drops to the bench.
“While we’ve managed to win three games, there is a feeling within the group that we have not played to our true potential,” said Nhleko.
“We have a sharp focus on getting our detail right, because if we do that then I believe we can increase our intensity and accuracy. Wales are a very well-coached and tactically astute side and they showed their big-match temperament by beating a good Italian team in front of their home fans.”
He added: “By the end of the tournament, we would have played four very physical matches inside the space of just over three weeks and we have worked to a plan to rotate the squad so we could manage the load of the players throughout the series, as well as give all players an opportunity to play.
“Our bench and those not in the match-day squad all know they have a specific job to perform, and I must add they have done that superbly, to provide quality opposition for the starting team during our training sessions.”
Nhleko has cautioned that Wales will be a tough nut to crack: “We know what they will bring – they have a formidable team, a good kicking game and serious pace out wide – so our defensive effort will have to be top class on the day and we must take our opportunities on attack.
“However, we have prepared well and are looking forward to the game. The boys are in a good space and they see this game as another opportunity for an improved performance.”
Junior Springboks – 15 Donovan Don, 14 Katlego Letebele, 13 Ethan James, 12 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 11 Imad Khan, 10 Sacha Mngomezulu (c), 9 Nico Steyn, 8 Louw Nel, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Paul de Villiers, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Connor Evans, 3 Corne Weilbach, 2 Lukhanyo Vokozela, 1 Corne Lavagna.
Subs: 16 Tiaan Lange, 17 Juann Else, 18 Sivu Mabece, 19 Merwe Olivier, 20 Siya Ningiza, 21 Neil le Roux, 22 Duran Koevort, 23 Latica Nela, 24 Lamla Nunu, 25 Corne Rahl, 26 Gcino Mdletshe.