Junior Boks looking for improved effort against Australia

rugby05 May 2024 14:40| © AFP
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junior Boks @ Gallo Images

JF van Heerden will captain a Junior Springbok side showing several changes when they take on Australia in the second round of the Under-20 Rugby Championship at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Bokarina, Queensland on Tuesday.

Van Heerden takes over the captaincy from Zachary Porthen, who has been ruled out of contention for this match due to a hand injury he sustained in the 13-13 draw against New Zealand last week.

SA U20 head coach Bafana Nhleko announced a starting line-up showing nine changes and a positional switch, while there are a further six tweaks among the replacements from the match 23 that did duty against the Kiwis.

Van Heerden, who came off the bench against NZ, starts the match as skipper next to Bathobele Hlekani, who was at flanker last week, in a new-look second row. Divan Fuller and Keanu Coetsee will start on the side of the scrum alongside Tiaan Jacobs, who gets a second start at No 8.

The absence of Porthen means the South Africans will field a new-look front row consisting of props Mbasa Maqubela and Reno Hirst, with Ethan Bester starting at hooker.

Asad Moos retains the scrumhalf jersey, but he will have a new halfback partner in Thurlon Williams, who replaces flyhalf Tylor Sefoor, with the latter not in the match 23 as precaution for a slight knock on the knee.

Other changes among the backs see first starts for Philip-Albert van Niekerk at inside centre and Joshua Boulle on the right wing, with Litelihle Bester (left wing), Jurenzo Julius (outside centre) and Michail Damon (fullback) all in line for a second start.

Nhleko said the changes were due to the demanding match schedule, and the with the development of the squad in mind.

“Three competitive games in 12 days mean that load management will play an important part in our team processes and player management,” said Nhleko.

“Also, this tour is very much about us continuing to grow as a team and part of the planning was to give the whole group playing minutes and experience in a very competitive series.”

According to Nhleko, his team will have to show improvement from their opening match against an Australian side who will be determined to bounce back from their first-round disappointment.

“They would feel that they perhaps didn’t get the reward for their efforts against an Argentine side that were clinical on the day, so they would want to rectify that against us, and we must be ready to meet that challenge,” he said.

“It seems we are in for more rain on match day, but we would like to build pressure with the ball and to get our attack systems going, for that to happen, we must improve in looking after the ball.

“The review and lessons against New Zealand last week, must show in the Australia game, meaning we have to be better with our game management, tactical awareness and also our execution to gain more reward for the opportunities we create.”

The match against the Australian U20s kicks off at 11h00 (SA time) on Tuesday and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

The Junior Springbok team to face Australia:

15 Michail Damon

14 Joshua Boulle

13 Jurenzo Julius (vice-captain)

12 Philip-Albert van Niekerk

11 Litelihle Bester

10 Thurlon Williams

9 Asad Moos

8 Tiaan Jacobs

7 Keanu Coetsee

6 Divan Fuller

5 JF van Heerden (captain)

4 Bathobele Hlekani

3 Reno Hirst

2 Ethan Bester

1 Mbasa Maqubela


16 CJ Erasmus

17 Liyema Ntshanga

18 Casper Badenhorst

19 Adam de Waal

20 Thabang Mphafi

21 Hassiem Pead

22 Bruce Sherwood

23 JC Mars