Massive blow for Junior Boks

Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux watches on as the forwards are in a huddle during the Junior Springboks training at Lelo Arena on June 06, 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux watches on as the forwards are in a huddle during the Junior Springboks training at Lelo Arena on June 06, 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Image: Zeena Isaacs/Gallo Images

The Junior Springboks suffered massive blow to their U20 World Championship campaign when influential No 8 Francke Horn was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Horn gave a strong display during Tuesday’s 43-19 win over Scotland in their opening match in Rosario but left the field midway through the second half.

Janko Swanepoel‚ a lock from the Bulls‚ has been called up as a replacement. Horn‚ who scored the SA U20s’ first try against Scotland at the Racecourse Stadium on Tuesday‚ went for scans on his shoulder on Wednesday afternoon and the results confirmed that he had to return home.

It’s the second time in two years the Junior Boks have lost their key player after one match.

Last year star flyhalf Damian Willemse was ruled out of the tournament following their opening match.

Swanepoel is expected to slot in with ease when he joins the team in Argentina on Friday‚ as he trained with the squad until one week before their departure for the international showpiece.

“I feel for Francke‚ especially after all the hard work he put in during the last few months to be at the World Rugby U20 Championship – he is a great player with fantastic character and leadership qualities‚” said coach Chean Roux.

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“But injuries are part of the game‚ and we have a big task ahead‚ so it is great to be able to call on Janko‚ who played in our warm-up games and trained with us until shortly before we wrapped up our preparations at home.

“He was unlucky not to make the final squad of 28‚ and despite this‚ he continued to give his best at every training session before we left for Argentina.

"So I have no doubt that he will hit the ground running when he arrives and give everything at the tournament.”

Of the decision to replace Horn‚ who played at No 8 against Scotland‚ with a lock‚ Roux said: “We have sufficient cover at looseforward in the squad‚ and given the intense physical demands of this tournament with five matches in three weeks‚ it is important that we cover all our bases.

"Effective player management will be vital to work our way into a position to get into the final and give ourselves the best possible chance to win the competition.”

The Junior Springboks had a recovery day on Wednesday‚ while they also reviewed the Scotland match. They will return to the training field on Thursday where the focus will be on Saturday’s clash against Georgia.

 

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