TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springboks junior coach Bafana Nhleko has named Lions flank Siyemukela Ndlovu as captain for his team’s first International Under-20 Series game against Uruguay in Stellenbosch Friday.
A group of former South African school players taking it to the next level.
No less than seven players from the starting squad represented the SA Schools and SA Schools A teams in 2019, but without international junior rugby in 2020, all of Nhleko’s selections for this match will debut for South Africa at the level under 20s.
Ndlovu is one of them, with Tyler Bocks (center), Izan Esterhuizen (no.8), Dylan de Leeuw (lock), Raynard Roets (lock), Blaine Golden (accessory) and Jacques Goosen (hooker) all former flank teammates.
Nhleko said this match-day squad were selected based on their pending games against Argentina and Georgia, when their only goal was the campaign opener.
“We chose these combinations for a number of reasons,” said Nhleko.
“There is a short turnaround between matches and player management will be important, so we will need new legs against Argentina at the start of the week. A number of players are then designated to get a first start.”
“This starting team will be ready for the game. Many of them were part of the SA Rugby Academy which has played a number of matches in recent weeks, and they know and understand each other, which was an important part of our thinking.
“It will be important for us to get a good start to set the tone and the standard and these combinations should be able to provide that to us,” he added.
Ndlovu, a Northwood High School alumnus who represented the Sharks at Youth Week level, said the opportunity to return to upper-class action will be a huge motivator for the team.
“We are facing the best that Uruguay can offer and we will have to react accordingly,” said Ndlovu.
“Our guys are really hungry to play. We want to go out there and represent our country and make them proud of us. We defend their honor. We trained really hard for this and luckily now is the time for us to apply this on the pitch.
Tournament rules allow teams to have all of their non-regular players on the bench; however, a first row must be designated before the match and only eight players can be substituted in total.
The Junior Boks will face Argentina on Wednesday June 23 and Georgia on Monday June 28. The tournament will end with a final round of matches on Saturday July 3 where the first two teams and the last two teams will meet respectively.
Junior Springboks: 15 Quan Horn (Lions), 14 Canan Moodie (Blue Bulls), 13 Ethan James (Western Province), 12 Tyler Bocks (Lions), 11 Curwin Gertse (Sharks), 10 Brandon Wilkie (Sharks), 9 Bobby Alexander (Western Province)), 8 Izan Esterhuizen (Lions), 7 Reinhardt Ludwig (Blue Bulls), 6 Siyemukela Ndlovu (Lions, captain), 5 Dylan de Leeuw (Western Province), 4 Raynard Roets (Blue Bulls), 3 Blaine Golden (Sharks), 2 Jacques Goosen (Sharks), 1 Nolan Pienaar (Blue Bulls).
Replacements – from: Andre-Hugo Venter (Western Province), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Blue Bulls), Corné Weilbach (Western Province) – (first row nominee), Simon Miller (Western Province), Rynard Mouton (Blue Bulls), Siyambuka Ningiza (Sharks), George Cronje (Toyota Cheetahs), Bradley Davids (Sharks), Kian Meadon (Sharks), Mnqobi Mkhize (Sharks), Dalvon Blood (Western Province).
Dated: Friday June 18
Location: Markötter Stadium, Stellenbosch
Start: 15.00 (13.00)
Arbitrator: To confirm