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Lions hooker puts up hand with hat-trick against SA U20

MATCH REPORT: The SA Under-20 side had a friendly match against a Lions XV at Ellis Park on Thursday afternoon with the youngsters going down 17-57.

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The Bok Juniors are preparing for the World Rugby U20 Championship that is taking place in the Western Cape in June. 

SA U20 coach Bafana Nhleko said his side will have full-on training matches against Currie Cup teams as part of their preparation.

“These provincial training games will give us further opportunities to test our readiness, adaptability and learning from different oppositions,” said Nhleko.

The Lions, sporting some very senior players like captain Andries Coetzee, Stean Pienaar, Manuel Rass, Ruben Schoeman and Ruan Smith in their line-up proved to be a task too far for the youngsters. 

The Lions scored nine tries, three by hooker Morne Brandon, one of the stars of the game. 

For Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen it was an opportunity to get players returning from injury back on the field as some big competition still looms in the United Rugby Championship and Challenge Cup.

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The Lions face Connacht in Ireland on March 23 followed by Ospreys in Swansea on March 30. 

Switching to the Challenge Cup, they face Benetton on April 6.

They then head back home where they will host Leinster on April 20 and Munster a week later.

Players who put up their hand for a spot in that touring group included captain Coetzee, Brandon and prop Ruan Smith amongst others.

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“It is just good for squad admin and everyone to play, but obviously there are a few touring spots open against Benetton, Connacht or Pau,” Van Rooyen said after the game. 

“Then coming home to Leinster, Munster, so important in that case, getting guys in games playing for the one or two or three or four open spots. 

“And also probably a bit of squad management the last two weeks of tour or coming back for Leinster, munster, but you don’t want to back here with the altitude deficit. 

“So it is important to get right and there were good enough performances for us to put up some hands.”

The Lions XV will face the Pumas in another friendly next week Thursday at Ellis Park.

Looking ahead, the Academy squad are gearing up for another hit out next week, when they are set to take on the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers in Wellington.

In May, the Junior Boks will participate in the inaugural U20 Rugby Championship hosted by Sanzaar in the Australian coastal city of Brisbane, where they will face Argentina, Australia and New Zealand in what will be an historic and much anticipated competition between the southern hemisphere quartet.

Scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Brandon 3, Smith 2, Esterhuizen, Du Plessis 2, Pienaar
Cons: Wolhuter 3, Du Plessis 2

For U20: TBC

Teams:

Lions XV: 15 Andries Coetzee (captain), 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Zander du Plessis, 11 Keagan Smith, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Nico Steyn, 8 Travis Gordon, 7 Izan Esterhuizen, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Ruan Delport, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Sivu Mabece, 2 Morne Brandon, 1 Ruan Smith
Replacements: 16 SJ Kotze, 17 Heiko Pohlman, 18 Jarod Cairns, 19 Renzo du Plessis, 20 Johan Mulder, 21 Tyler Bocks, 22 Rynhardt Jonker

SA Under-20: 15 Michail Damon, 14 Joel Leotlela, 13 Joshua Boulle, 12 Jurenzo Julius, 11 Litelihle Bester, 10 Thurlon Williams, 9 Hssien Pead, 8 Thabang Mphafi, 7 Keanu Coetzee, 6 Sibabalwe Mahashe, 5 Thomas Dyer, 4 Batho Hlekani, 3 Reno Hirst, 2 Luca Bakkes, 1 Ruan Swart
Replacements: Juan Smal, 17 Ronan Dutton, 18 Casper Badenhorst, 19 Katlego Lobakeng, 20 JJ Theron, 21 Aiden Miller, 22 Tylor Sefoor, 23 Divan Fuller, 24 Alfondso Isaacs, 25 Sphephele Mbonambi, 26 JC Mars, 30 Wandile Mlaba

 

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