Loose forward Xola Nyali will captain the South Africa U18 team in the International Series opener against France at Stellenberg High on Tuesday afternoon.
Nyali captained Western Province at the U18 Craven Week at the end of June and played for SA Schools against their ‘A’ team counterparts last month. Flyhalf Ian van der Merwe has been named vice-captain by SA U18 coach Katleho Lynch for the match against France in Durbanville, which kicks off at 3pm.
Lynch said the players were raring to go and that he was excited to see what this group can offer after the players delivered a spectacle in Wellington a month ago when the two SA Schools sides squared off.
“We are really looking forward to the series against France and England as there is no better way to give the boys the best possible experience of what it’s like playing at international level,” said Lynch.
“We’ve done some squad rotation and mixing and matching of players in positions and the main thing will now be to see what we’ve been working on the last couple of weeks come to fruition and executed at test level.
“I have no doubt that we have some great talent in South Africa, it’s now just a matter of putting it to the test and executing under pressure in an international match situation.”
Lynch was dealt a late blow when Divan Fuller (loose forward) was forced to withdraw from the squad, with his WP team-mate Riley Norton earning a call-up.
Earlier on Tuesday, the England U18s will face a Western Province XV (1pm). The U18 International Series concludes at Paarl Boys’ High’s Brug Street fields on Saturday when South Africa take on England (3pm), preceded by the match between France and the WP XV (1pm)
SA U18 – 15 Luyanda Kunene, 14 Scott Nel, 13 Jameel de Jongh, 12 Dominic Malgas, 11 Cheswill Jooste, 10 Ian van der Merwe (vice-captain), 9 Christiaan van der Westhuizen, 8 Batho Hlekani, 7 Thando Biyela, 6 Xola Nyali (c), 5 Ulrich van der Westhuizen, 4 Jacobus Grobbelaar, 3 Simphiwe Ngobese, 2 Imaani Pemba, 1 Ranon Fouche.
Subs: 16 Siphosethu Mnebelele, 17 Lithemba Mfupi, 18 Jean Erasmus, 19 Riley Norton, 20 JJ Theron, 21 Haashim Pead, 22 Janco Purchase, 23 JC Mars, 24 Marno Stopforth, 25 Phiwayinkosi Kubeka, 26 Gino Cupido.