Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko has named the SA U20 matchday squad for Friday’s opening clash of the Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series against England in Verona, Italy, with Sacha Mngomezulu (flyhalf) to lead the team at the Payanini Center.
The match kicks off at 17h00 and will be streamed live on www.springboks.rugby.
Following an SA Rugby Academy programme of almost three months at Stellenbosch, which formed the basis for their tournament preparations, the Junior Boks believe they are ready for what will be a demanding tournament, starting with a testing battle against England on Friday.
“Two years ago, there were no schools and age-group rugby, and last year we played in a strictly controlled environment in our home-based international series because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nhleko.
“Now we have a group of players that will sing the national anthem before playing for their country, for the first time. Exposure to international rugby is a great step up in their development and their future rugby pathway.
“That’s the exciting part and these guys have started on a great journey, but we are under no illusion as to what tough battles await us over the next three weeks, starting with England.
“I believe we are well prepared, but Friday’s match will demand a huge effort because we are competing against teams that are used to playing at this level on a regular basis. We must back up the positive attitude and energy with a good application of our game principles and fundamentals from the start,” added Nhleko.
After their opener against England on Friday, the Junior Boks will face against reigning Six Nations Under-20 Grand Slam champions Ireland and France in quick succession.
Eight countries are in action in the Summer Series – the Six Nations sides as well as South Africa and Georgia – split into two groups of four, with each side playing three pool matches before a cross pool match to decide the winner.
All 16 matches will take place in Italy, with Verona’s Payanini Center and Stadio Di Monigo in Treviso playing host to all the exciting action.
According to the tournament rules, the matchday squad will consist of 26 players instead of the usual 23, meaning the coaches will be able to use all 11 players on the replacement bench.
The Junior Springbok team to face England in Verona:
15 Duran Koevort (DHL WP), 14 Donovan Don (Down Touch Griffons), 13 Ethan James (DHL WP), 12 Carlton Banies (Vodacom Bulls), 11 Suleiman Hartzenberg (DHL WP), 10 Sacha Mngomezulu (captain, DHL WP), 9 Nico Steyn (Sigma Lions), 8 Cameron Hanekom (Vodacom Bulls), 7 Ruan Venter (Sigma Lions), 6 Siya Ningiza (Cell C Sharks), 5 Reinhardt Ludwig (Vodacom Bulls), 4 Connor Evans (DHL WP), 3 Corne Weilbach (DHL WP), 2 Lukhanyo Vokozela (DHL WP), 1 Lamla Nunu (DHL WP). Replacements: 16 Tiaan Lange (Vodacom Bulls), 17 Juann Else (Vodacom Bulls), 18 Sebastian Lombard (Vodacom Bulls), 19 Corne Rahl (Cell C Sharks), 20 Louw Nel (DHL WP), 21 Imad Khan (DHL WP), 22 Compion von Ludwig, 23 Latica Nela (SA Rugby Sevens contracted), 24 Merwe Olivier (Vodacom Bulls), 25 Paul de Villiers (DHL WP), 26 Gcino Mdletshe (Vodacom Bulls).
Issued by SA Rugby Communications