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'Load management' key for Baby Boks

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: JF van Heerden will captain a Junior Springbok side showing several changes when they take on Australia in the second round of the Under-20 Rugby Championship at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Bokarina, Queensland on Tuesday.

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Van Heerden takes over the captaincy from Zachary Porthen, who has been ruled out of contention for this match due to a hand injury he sustained in the 13-all draw with New Zealand last week.

South Africa’s Under-20 coach Bafana Nhleko announced a starting line-up showing nine changes and a positional switch, while there are a further six tweaks amongst the replacements from the match 23 that did duty against the Kiwis.

Van Heerden, who came off the bench against New Zealand, starts the match as skipper next to Bathobele Hlekani, who was at flank last week, in a new-look second row.

Divan Fuller and Keanu Coetzee will start on the side of the scrum alongside Tiaan Jacobs, who gets a second start at No.8.

The absence of Porthen means the South Africans will field a new-look front row consisting of props Mbasa Maqubela and Reno Hirst, with Ethan Bester starting at hooker.

Asad Moos retains the scrumhalf jersey, but he will have a new halfback partner in Thurlon Williams, who replaces flyhalf Tylor Sefoor, with the latter not in the matchday 23 as a precaution for a slight knock on the knee.

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Other changes amongst the backs see first starts for Philip-Albert van Niekerk at inside centre and Joshua Boulle on the right wing, with Litelihle Bester (left wing), Jurenzo Julius (outside centre) and Michail Damon (fullback) all in line for a second start.

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Nhleko said the changes were due to the demanding match schedule and with the development of the squad in mind.

“Three competitive games in 12 days mean that load management will play an important part in our team processes and player management,” said Nhleko.

“Also, this tour is about us continuing to grow as a team and part of the planning was to give the whole group playing minutes and experience in a very competitive series.”

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According to Nhleko, his team will have to show improvement from their opening match against an Australian side who will be determined to bounce back from their first-round disappointment.

“They would feel that they perhaps didn’t get the reward for their efforts against an Argentine side that was clinical on the day, so they would want to rectify that against us, and we must be ready to meet that challenge,” he said.

“It seems we are in for more rain on match day, but we would like to build pressure with the ball and to get our attack systems going, for that to happen, we must improve in looking after the ball.

“The review and lessons against New Zealand last week, must show in the Australia game, meaning we have to be better with our game management, tactical awareness and our execution to gain more reward for the opportunities we create.”

South Africa: 15 Michail Damon, 14 Joshua Boulle, 13 Jurenzo Julius, 12 Philip-Albert van Niekerk, 11 Litelihle Bester, 10 Thurlon Williams, 9 Asad Moos, 8 Tiaan Jacobs, 7 Keanu Coetzee, 6 Divan Fuller, 5 JF van Heerden (captain), 4 Bathobele Hlekani, 3 Reno Hirst, 2 Ethan Bester, 1 Mbasa Maqubela.
Replacements: 16 CJ Erasmus, 17 Liyema Ntshanga, 18 Casper Badenhorst, 19 Adam de Waal, 20 Thabang Mphafi, 21 Hassiem Pead, 22 Bruce Sherwood, 23 JC Mars.

Date: Tuesday, May 7
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Bokarina
Kick-off: 19.00 (11.00 SA time; 09.00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nehuen Jauri Rivero (Argentina), James Palmer (Australia)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

Baby Bok team to face Australia

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