Last chance for Junior Bok players to impress
Several Junior Springbok players will have a last chance to impress coach Chean Roux when South Africa Under-20 meet Wales U-20 at the Vale Resort in Cardiff on Tuesday.
After a humbling 35-8 loss against England in Coventry last Friday‚ Roux has had plenty to ponder with the U-20 World Championships in Argentina five weeks away.
Wales only finished fourth in the U-20 Six Nations with two wins out of five‚ but one of those victories was against England‚ underlining the depth of quality in the northern hemisphere game.
Roux made four changes and two positional switches to the side than ran on against England‚ with fullback Andrew Kota‚ scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba‚ flank Evan Roos and prop Kudzwai Dube earning starts.
Kota’s inclusion at No 15 sees Thaakir Abrahams move to the right wing‚ while Marnus Potgieter switches from wing to centre to partner Rikus Pretorius in the midfield.
Flank Phendulani Buthelezi will lead the team‚ which features an expanded replacements bench of 10 players.
“We have tried to give everyone a chance to play on tour so that we can see where we are at this stage‚” said Roux.
“There are another five or six players at home who we are also still looking at‚ so this is a good opportunity for everyone.”
Of Wales‚ the coach said: “They are a very good side from what we have seen in the U20 Six Nations and they are well-coached. They defeated England in the competition and could easily have finished second on the log.
“So this is going to be a good game and great test for the players‚ especially given the demanding schedule that we specifically planned for them on this tour.”
Besides a good result‚ Roux is looking for a full 80-minute performance from the team after they conceded three tries in the final 10 minutes against England.
There will also have to be a marked improvement in their set phases while the attacking game needs sharpening.
“We would like to see how long the players can hang in the game‚” Roux said. “We trailed England by five points with eight minutes to go in our last game‚ and the outcome could have been very different.
“That said‚ we have tried to make this tour as tough as possible for the players. We flew to the UK on Tuesday‚ trained every day‚ didn’t give them off. And we have had double training sessions as well because we felt that it would not benefit them in Argentina‚ to rest before these matches.
“So the main thing on this tour was to prepare them mentally for the World Rugby U-20 Championship by making things as tough as possible.
“Hopefully we can beat Wales with players who have had a more physically demanding schedule‚ but the main thing I would like to see is how long the legs can last in this game.”