Junior Springboks captain Phendulani Buthelezi wants team to step up against New Zealand

12 June 2019 - 09:59 By Craig Ray
Junior Springboks captain Phendulani Buthelezi.
Junior Springboks captain Phendulani Buthelezi.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Junior Springbok captain Phendulani Buthelezi has called on his team to show improvement when they take on New Zealand at the U20 World Championships in Argentina Wednesday.

The two southern hemisphere heavyweights are locked on 10 points each after both comfortably beaten Georgia and Scotland and tonight’s clash in Rosario will decide the Pool winner.

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The loser still stands a chance of making it to the semifinals‚ where the best second placed team across the three Pools‚ joins the three group winners in the last four.

“All the teams have eased their way into the World Rugby U20 Championship‚ and we now know what to expect from the others‚ so we are ready to go out there and build on what we have done up to now‚” Buthelezi said.

Coach Chean Roux has made three changes from the side that beat Georgia 48-20 for the New Zealand clash.

Elrigh Louw (lock)‚ Sibusiso Sangweni (flank) and Thaakir Abrahams (wing) earn their first starts at the tournament.

They replace Emile van Heerden‚ Celimpilo Gumede and Caleb Dingaan respectively in the starting 15 for the vital clash at the Racecourse Stadium.

“It is now up to us to make that mental switch‚ and go out there on Wednesday and do our best‚” Buthelezi said.

“We obviously need to ensure we prepare well‚ but the main thing for us is to focus on what we need to bring to the game.

“We need to get our matches off to a better start; that is a big work-on for us.

“We have established that we create opportunities in the first half‚ but don’t finish off‚ and that places us under pressure.

“Going forward that is something we really need to step up. We want to reach the point where we walk away with points if we get close to the opposition’s tryline.”

Roux explained the changes as picking a team to suit the challenge the opposition presented.

“We had a look at the opposition‚ and made a few changes‚” Roux said.

“It is important to give a few players a rest‚ but also to keep the players on form in the team‚ so that we have consistency.”

The coach expected a big battle against New Zealand and said: “It is going to be a tough game. They like to keep ball in hand and they have some exciting runners‚ so it will be the same as facing any typical New Zealand team‚ we need to be up for it and be ready for them.”

Roux hoped for a solid performance all round from his charges and said: “Hopefully our defence will be up to the task to put them under pressure‚ while we also need to win our first phases‚ as the scrums and lineouts are the foundation of any rugby game.

"If we can do that‚ I think we will be in with a good chance.”

Junior Springboks:

15 Vaughan Isaacs‚ 14 Angelo Davids‚ 13 Marnus Potgieter‚ 12 Rickus Pretorius‚ 11 Thaakir Abrahams‚ 10 James Mollentze‚ 9 Jaden Hendrikse‚ 8 Phendulani Buthelezi (captain)‚ 7 Sibusiso Sangweni‚ 6 Dylan Richardson‚ 5 Elrigh Louw‚ 4 JJ van der Mescht‚ 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye‚ 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha‚ 1 Dian Bleuler.


16 Dameon Venter‚ 17 Kudzwai Dube‚ 18 Keagan Glade‚ 19 Thabiso Mdletshe‚ 20 Jaco Labuschagne‚ 21 Celimpilo Gumede‚ 22 Mnombo Zwelendaba‚ 23 Sanele Nohamba‚ 24 Janko Swanepoel‚ 25 Emile van Heerden‚ 26 Caleb Dingaan‚ 27 David Coetzer‚ 28 David Kriel.