Junior Springboks coach Chean Roux named three capped players to start for the SA U19s in the first match against Georgia U19 in Tbilisi on Monday.
The tour, which will feature matches against the Georgia U19 team on Monday, 2 December and Thursday, 5 December, will replace the U18 and U19 assessment camps usually hosted by the coaching staff with an eye on the selection of the Junior Springbok squad for next year’s U20 World Championship.
Hooker JJ Kotze will captain the team featuring U20 Championship Breakthrough Player of the Year nominee Jaden Hendrikse and his SA U20 teammates centre Zwelendaba Mnombo and prop Thabiso Mdletshe.
Another Junior Springbok, flank Sibusiso Sangweni, was included in the original squad, but he was forced to withdraw due to a hand injury.
A total of 29 players were named in the match-day squad, and all the players will be allowed to take the field.
‘The facilities here are very good and the team has been training well,’ Roux said. ‘It is a new squad, although most of the players have come through our Elite Player Development (EPD) system, so they know one another.
‘We have focused mainly on the basic aspects of the game since we got together and the players have been doing well considering that we have only had four training sessions.’
The coach expected a tough onslaught from Georgia.
‘They pride themselves on their physicality and they are good at scrummaging and in the rucks and mauls, so we have to be ready for that.
‘The important thing for us is to speed up the game, to work on our defence and to be as effective as possible in the key areas of the game.
‘This is a fantastic opportunity for these young players to be exposed to international rugby at a young age, so it is also important that they enjoy this experience and learn as much as possible on the field.’
The match kicks off at 2pm South African time. The two teams will meet again for the final tour match on Thursday, 5 December.
SA U19 – 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Muzi Manyike, 13 Zwelendaba Mnombo, 12 Dawid Kellerman, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Juan Mostert, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Willem Steenkamp, 7 Werner Gouws, 6 Lindo Ncusane, 5 Adrian Alberts, 4 Lunga Ncube, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 JJ Kotze (c), 1 Thabiso Mdletshe.
Subs: 16 Jason Alexander, 17 Benele Mthenjane, 18 Siphekahle Dube, 19 Werner Coetzee, 20 Thomas Bursey, 21 Ethan Wentzel, 22 Dylan de Leeuw, 23 Morne Brandon, 24 Dewald Donald, 25 Thabo Ndimande, 26 Diego Appollis, 27 Keenan Twigg, 28 Rynhardt Jonker, 29 Bernard van der Linde.
Photo: Gallo Images