Junior Boks tweak side for Argentina clash

Bathobele Hlekani will shift from lock to flank in one of five changes made to the Junior Springboks’ lineup for the U20 World Championship encounter with Argentina in Stellenbosch on Thursday.

Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko has tweaked the starting XV for the second pool match, making five changes to the run-on side that started in the win over Fiji.

Thursday’s Pool C clash at the Danie Craven Stadium will kick off at 7pm.

The inclusion of Bruce Sherwood (fullback) and Phillip-Albert van Niekerk (inside centre) are the changes in the backline, in place of Michail Damon, who will sit out this clash, and Josh Boulle, who has been included on the bench.

Amongst the forwards, Thabang Mphafi moves from No 7 flanker to the other side of the scrum to play in the No 6 jersey where he replaces Sibabalwe Mahashe, who in turn moves to the replacement bench.

Elsewhere in the starting pack, Jaco Grobbelaar is set to make his debut at lock in place of Hlekani, who will start at flanker.

Meanwhile, Nhleko has opted for a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench in anticipation of a huge battle up front with the powerful Argentine pack.

“When we faced them two months ago in Australia, as well as during a strong first-half showing against England on Saturday (in Athlone), Argentina displayed their impressive forward power, so we have to be prepared to deal with that,” said Nhleko.

Nhleko explained the variations to the match 23: “Whilst we wanted to keep the spine of the team intact, we must manage the load of the players sensibly because this is a demanding tournament due to the short turnaround time between matches and being adaptable in different circumstances.

“I am pleased for Jaco who missed the Australian tour with injury and his selection, coupled with the other tweaks, are part of the process to freshen up the team and also adapting to how we want to play against different opposition.

“We have a hardworking squad who are all contributing positively even when not playing. They are eager to continue with their learning, growth, and togetherness as a group.”

Junior Springboks – 15 Bruce Sherwood, 14 Joel Leotela, 13 Jurenzo Julius, 12 Philip-Albert van Niekerk, 11 Litelihle Bester, 10 Liam Koen, 9 Asad Moos, 8 Tiaan Jacobs, 7 Bathobele Hlekani, 6 Thabang Mphafi, 5 JF van Heerden, 4 Jaco Grobbelaar, 3 Zachary Porthen (c), 2 Luca Bakkes, 1 Ruan Swart.
Subs: 16 Ethan Bester, 17 Liyema Ntshanga 18 Casper Badenhorst, 19 Thomas Dyer, 20 Keanu Coetsee, 21 Sibabalwe Mahashe, 22 Tylor Sefoor, 23 Joshua Boulle.

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Post by