Roux changes it up as Junior Boks wait on Willemse
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was able to make six changes to his starting lineup for his side’s next World Championship warm-up game against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Tuesday.
The Junior Boks have been in good form in their pre-tournament outings‚ most recently thrashing Scotland 41-3 last Friday to kick start their tour on a positive note.
Last month they beat Georgia 48-23 and 55-14 in Stellenbosch.
Results are less important than form and testing combinations on this tour‚ especially as flyhalf Damian Willemse has yet to be released from his Super Rugby duties at the Stormers.
The 19-year-old Willemse‚ who gave a mature display as the Stormers beat the Bulls at the weekend‚ will play against the Chiefs at Newland this weekend before attending to his Junior Bok commitments.
Which allows Roux to experiment at halfback while the undisputed number one continues to wow fans at a higher level.
For Wales the team features a new centre pairing of Manuel Rass and Lyle Hendricks‚ while scrumhalf Zak Burger will join forces with Lubabalo Dobela at halfback in the three changes to backline.
The switches in the pack see a new-look front row with prop Nathan McBeth and hooker Schalk Erasmus start alongside Sazi Sandi‚ who retains his place in the starting XV‚ and Ben-Jason Dixon joins captain Salmaan Moerat in the second row.
Only one of the changes were injury enforced‚ as prop Alulutho Tshakweni took a knock to his knee against Scotland.
The expanded squad‚ featuring 25 players‚ includes three players who did not participate in the match against Scotland – prop Cohen Kiewit‚ scrumhalf Jack Hart and flyhalf David Coetzer.
Coetzer joined the squad in Cardiff on Tuesday as cover for Damian Willemse.
“The World Rugby U20 Championship is drawing closer‚ so we have to ensure that everyone is ready for the tournament‚ and has sufficient game time under the belt‚ which is why we decided to make a few rotational switches‚” said Roux.
“This will also allow us to further grow and develop the player combinations we have been working on. Our main purpose on this tour is to build toward the international spectacle in the south of France‚ so everything we do is geared toward that.”
Roux expected a testing encounter against Wales and said: “Wales will pose different challenges to Scotland and we expect that this challenge will be a notch up from our last outing‚ so we need to be switched on from the outset.
"The set phases will again be vital in laying a solid foundation‚ while I would also like us to get the tempo up from early on.”
The match kicks off at 15h00. The Junior Springboks will meet England in their final UK tour match on Friday at the Sixways Stadium in Worcester.
Junior Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff:
15 - Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions)
14 - Tyrone Green (Xerox Golden Lions)
13 - Manuel Rass (Xerox Golden Lions)
12 - Lyle Hendricks (DHL Western Province)
11 - Sihle Njezula (DHL Western Province)
10 - Lubabalo Dobela (Toyota Free State)
9 - Zak Burger (Cell C Sharks)
8 - Muller Uys (DHL Western Province)
7 - PJ Steenkamp (Xerox Golden Lions)
6 - Dian Schoonees (Xerox Golden Lions)
5 – Ben-Jason Dixon (DHL Western Province)
4 - Salmaan Moerat (captain – DHL Western Province)
3 - Sazi Sandi (DHL Western Province)
2 - Schalk Erasmus (DHL Western Province)
1 - Nathan McBeth (Xerox Golden Lions)
16 - Daniel Jooste (DHL Western Province)
17 - Tiaan van der Merwe (Xerox Golden Lions)
18 - Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions)
19 - Cohen Kiewit (Xerox Golden Lions)
20 - Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
21 - Phendulani Buthelezi (Cell C Sharks)
22 - Jack Hart (Xerox Golden Lions)
23 - Wandisile Simelane (Xerox Golden Lions)
24 - David Coetzer (DHL Western Province)
25 - Rikus Pretorius (DHL Western Province)