Gordon skippers SA Schools against Wales
TEAM ANNOUNCEEMNT: Golden Lions No.8 will lead the SA Schools team when they kick off their Under-19 International Series campaign on Friday against Wales at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch.
Centre Rikus Pretorius, who is one of two players who featured in SA Schools team last season, has been named the vice-captain.
The other player who will represent the squad for the second time is wing Muller du Plessis.
England will face France in the first match at 14.15 (12.15 GMT), which will be followed by the SA Schools team taking on Wales at 16.00 (14.00GMT).
The Johannesburg prop duo of Nkosikhona Masuku and Keagan Glade will partner up with Ruhann Greyling in a solid front row, while scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba and flyhalf Christopher Schreuder will dictate play in a talented halfback pairing.
Lock Juan der Mercht, weighing in at 130kg and 2m tall, will pair up with Cristen van Niekerk, at 104kg and 1,9m tall, in a physical lock pairing.
In line with the competition rules, Sendin opted to name 13 replacements, although only eight will be allowed to take to the field. The sides will be allowed rolling substitutions, which will be limited to 12 rotations.
"We selected the player combinations which we thought gelled well based on what we saw at training in the last few days," said SA Schools coach Lance Sendin.
Looking at the match, he said: "Wales are always tough customers. They usually have a well-balanced side with big forwards and skilled backs, so we are expecting a physical encounter, while we will also be tested on defence.
"We need to be well prepared to counter their strengths,"
With the SA Schools team finishing last year’s tournament unbeaten, Sendin was confident that his charges were up for the challenge and said:
"It was a challenge at first, but after getting to know one another, the players have responded well to the pressure. They are all looking forward to the first match,"
SA SCHOOLS: 15 Kennedy Mpeku, 14 Qamani Kota, 13 Diego Appollis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Muller du Plessis, 10 Christopher Schreuder, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Travis Gordon (captain), 7 Phendulani Buthelezi, 6 Vian Fourie, 5 Cristen van Niekerk, 4 Juan van der Mescht, 3 Keagan Glade, 2 Ruhann Greyling, 1 Nkosikhona Masuku.
Replacements: 16 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 17 Jordan Clarke, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Celimpilo Gumede, 20 Adrian Alberts, 21 Mark Snyman, 22 Dylan Richardson, 23 Henco Martins, 24 Jaden Hendrikse, 25 Yanga Hlalu, 26 Conan Le Fleur, 27 Morne Brandon, 28 Banele Mthenjane.
Source: SA Rugby Communications