Cell C Sharks flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg has been included in the Junior Springboks’ starting line-up to face the Down Touch Griffons on Friday in their first warm-up match in the build-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship.
Along with Janse van Rensburg, who is one of two players in the match-day squad who were also part of the SA U20 squad last year, Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux also included six 2016 SA Schools players to play in Welkom. They are Salmaan Moerat, who captained the SA Schools team last season, Gianni Lombard, Daniel Jooste, Manuel Rass, Rewan Kruger and Muller Uys.
With a handful of players in contention for selection for the 28-man squad to travel to Georgia on duty at their Vodacom Super Rugby franchises, the Springbok Sevens team and the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International respectively, and others nursing injuries, Roux will use this opportunity to give the players in camp a chance to showcase their skills. The match will kick off at 15h00 at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium.
A shortage of locks in the squad prompted Roux to draft in Toyota Free State Cheetahs lock Ewan Coetzee to train with the squad.“We have small group of players here, so it was easy to select the team to face the Griffons,” said Roux.
“We have two months left to prepare for the competition and there are several other players who also have a shot of securing a place in the final squad, so the training matches are not only important in terms of our preparation but also for the players to show us what they can do.
“The players whose Varsity Cup teams do not progress to the final will join us next week, along with Damian Willemse and Embrose Papier, and we plan to play them and the players who have not been included in this squad in the remaining warm-up games.”
Janse van Rensburg will pair up with his Cell C Sharks team-mate Francois de Villiers in the halfbacks, while the Xerox Golden Lions duo of Rass and Wayne van der Bank will start at centre.
Up-front DHL Western Province prop Lee-Marvin Mazibuko and hooker Daniel Jooste will pack down in the front row with Toyota Free State Cheetahs prop Boan Venter, while Moerat and Coetzee will start in the engine room.
Commenting on the clash against the Griffons, Roux said the scoreboard would have no significance and that the main focus would be on the implementation of the structures.
“Our main focus up until now has been on individual skills, so we have not had the opportunity to test the various aspects of our game in a proper match,” explained Roux.
“The three warm-up matches on this tour will serve the purpose of ticking the boxes in the different areas such as the accuracy of our kicking, our lineouts, scrums, and defence, and to allow the players to showcase their talent.
“We have five warm-up matches in total before we depart for Georgia, and this will be the first hit-out for the players, so paying attention to the scoreboard now will not be beneficial in any way. Instead, I would like to see a steady improvement in the implementation of our structures and systems as our preparation progresses.”
The Junior Springboks will face the Tafel Lager Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs on 5 April and 8 April respectively in their next two warm-up matches.
They will have their third training camp in Stellenbosch from 18 April to 12 May, where they will play a further two warm-up matches against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, 25 April, and DHL Western Province on Tuesday, 9 May respectively.
The SA Under-20s will face France, Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 31 May, 4 June and 8 Junerespectively.
Junior Springbok squad to face the Down Touch Griffons:
|15||Gianni Lombard||Xerox Golden Lions|
|14||Mfundo Ndhlovu||Cell C Sharks|
|13||Manuel Rass||Xerox Golden Lions|
|12||Wayne van der Bank||Xerox Golden Lions|
|11||Ilunga Mukendi||Cell C Sharks|
|10||Benhard Janse van Rensburg||Cell C Sharks|
|9||Francois de Villiers||Cell C Sharks|
|8||Hacjivah Dayimani||Xerox Golden Lions|
|7||Hendre Stassen||Vodacom Blue Bulls|
|6||Nama Xaba||DHL Western Province|
|5||Salmaan Moerat||DHL Western Province|
|4||Ewan Coetzee||Toyota Free State Cheetahs|
|3||Lee-Marvin Mazibuko||DHL Western Province|
|2||Daniel Jooste||DHL Western Province|
|1||Boan Venter||Toyota Free State Cheetahs|
|16||Johan Grobbelaar||Vodacom Blue Bulls|
|17||Gerhard Steenekamp||Vodacom Blue Bulls|
|18||Carlű Sadie||DHL Western Province|
|19||Muller Uys||DHL Western Province|
|20||Marnus van der Merwe||Toyota Free State Cheetahs|
|21||Rewan Kruger||Toyota Free State Cheetahs|
|22||Jean-Luc Cilliers||Xerox Golden Lions|
|23||Cornel Smit||DHL Western Province|