Junior Boks unchanged for U20 semi-final

Chean Roux (Gallo Images)
Chean Roux (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux named the same starting team that came out firing against New Zealand for their World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final against defending champions, France, at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario on Monday.

The last time the Junior Springboks advanced to the final of the tournament was in 2014, while France made the most of their home final last year by defeating England 33-25 to win the trophy.

The match kicks off at 20:30 SA time.

With the player combinations settled and delivering on their roles, Roux said it was important to maintain consistency as they enter the final stages of the tournament.

"We tried to keep the momentum we have built up going, so we opted to name the same team that started in the last game," said Roux.

The coach expects a big onslaught from France, who proved to be tough opponents in the last two World Rugby U20 Championships - France defeated the SAU20's 46-29 in the south of France in 2018, while the teams played to a 23-23 draw in the pool stages of the 2017 edition of the competition in Tbilisi, Georgia, before the Junior Springboks defeated them 37-15 in the third and fourth-place playoff to win the bronze medal.

"France have a physical pack of forwards and a solid halfback combination that tends to kick a lot," said the coach.

"They are a talented team and they enjoy speeding up the game. I am not sure what the weather will hold, but if it is wet they will have a good kicking plan, so we need to be ready for that."

Commenting on what he wanted to see from his team in the vital match, Roux said:

"I think we need to build on what we did in our last match. We need good first-phases from the scrums and lineouts to ensure that our backs get quality possession, and we have to play in the right areas of the field. Hopefully our defence will also stand up to them, while it will also be important to use our opportunities when they arise."

Meanwhile, South African referee Rasta Rasivhenge will officiate the match between Georgia and Fiji at the Old Resians Club in Rosario on Monday.

Junior Springbok team to face France:

15 Vaughen Isaacs (Blue Bulls), 14 Angelo Davids (SA Rugby contracted), 13 Marnus Potgieter (Blue Bulls), 12 Rikus Pretorius (vice-captain - Western Province), 11 Thaakir Abrahams (Sharks), 10 James Mollentze (Free State), 9 Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), 8 Phendulani Buthelezi (captain - Sharks), 7 Sibusiso Sangweni (Golden Lions), 6 Dylan Richardson (Sharks), 5 Elrigh Louw (Free State), 4 JJ van der Mescht (Sharks), 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Golden Lions), 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha (Sharks), 1 Dian Bleuler (Western Province)

Substitutes: 16 Dameon Venter (Golden Lions), 17 Kudzwai Dube (Blue Bulls), 18 Keagan Glade (Golden Lions), 19 Thabiso Mdletshe (Sharks), 20 Jaco Labuschagne (Blue Bulls), 21 Celimpilo Gumede (Sharks), 22 Zwelendaba Mnombo (Western Province), 23 Sanele Nohamba (Sharks), 24 Janko Swanepoel (Blue Bulls), 25 Emile van Heerden (Sharks), 26 Caleb Dingaan (Sharks), 27 David Coetzer (Western Province), 28 David Kriel (Western Province)

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