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Under-20 World Championship, Round Three - team tracker

PREVIEW: Hosts South Africa has drafted in some serious muscle as they hope to salvage their campaign in the World Rugby Under-20 championship.

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After spluttering to a win over Georgia in the opening round, South Africa suffered a shock loss to Italy this past Thursday.

That left Argentina – who beat Italy 43-15 in the opening round and then lost 0-20 to Georgia – sitting pretty at the top of Pool C.

SA Under-20 (plus two on points difference) are second – behind Argentina (plus eight on points difference) – with Italy (-20) third.

All three have five points on the standings, with Georgia on four points.

Flyhalf Jean Smith – the Junior Springboks’ leading scorer – will resume his role as the starting No.10 when South Africa take on Argentina in a must-win fixture at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Smith played in the team’s opening Pool C match against Georgia on the first day of the tournament and scored 18 points.

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Sam Francis then took over the No.10 jersey against Italy, but picked up an ankle injury early in the match, and has since been ruled out of the tournament.

Another scorer against Georgia, Ethan Hooker, returns to the Baby Boks’ midfield, as will lock Coetzee le Roux.

Hakeem Kunene is also back in the squad and will start at fullback, as he did against Georgia.

Uncapped tighthead prop Dian Heunis will make his first start in the tournament, as will replacement scrumhalf Asad Moos.

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The latter was brought into the squad at the weekend, as an injury replacement for Francis.

Moos, who played for the South African Schools in the Under-18 international series in 2022, trained with the Junior Boks in recent weeks and will be able to slot in without problems, according to Junior Springbok coach, Bafana Nhleko.

“It’s desperately sad for Sam, who got injured in the opening quarter of the Italian game and we feel for him,” Nhleko said.

“That does create the opportunity for someone else, in this case Asad, who has slotted in immediately.”

According to the coach, the team selection for Argentina rewards those players who did well in the opening two matches.

“We are in a tight spot and have to win this game in order to make the semifinals.

“I believe this team has the ability to do what is required,” Nhleko added.

“I think the weather conditions so far in the tournament did not really give our backs any chance to show their worth, but we first have to deliver upfront and address our discipline.

“The weather conditions look promising for Tuesday and the playing surface at Athlone Stadium is a good one.

“We know Argentina would have been stung by their defeat to Georgia, but so were we in losing to Italy.

“The squad is determined to make that up for it and the fantastic support so far from the locals, and this performance should reflect that.”

* Meanwhile, Pool B leaders England will look to book their play-off spot when they face Australia in an earlier match at Athlone.

England coach Mark Mapletoft has named Asher Opoku-Fordjour at loosehead prop, with Afolabi Fasogbon packing down on the other side of the scrum at tighthead, while Nathan Jibulu will wear the No.2 shirt.

Leicester Tigers’ Lewis Chessum captains the side from lock, and is joined by Finn Carnduff in the second row.

Behind them in the pack, Nathan Michelow (blindside flank), Greg Fisilau (openside flank) and Chandler Cunningham-South (No.8) are confirmed as the back row.

Charlie Bracken and Connor Slevin are the side’s starting halfbacks, with Joseph Woodward and Rekeiti Ma’asi-White combining in the midfield.

The back three sees Cassius Cleaves and Jacob Cusick take their places on the wings and Sam Harris is the fullback.

Mapletoft said: “This is a tough tournament with tight turnarounds and after a particularly physical game against Fiji, I’ve been pleased with the response from the players to make sure they’re ready to face Australia.

“The Aussies have historically been one of the best-performing sides in the tournament, but we came to South Africa wanting to play and beat the best sides, so we’re relishing this opportunity.

“We’re not thinking about who we’ll face in the tournament’s next stage, we’re solely focused on our next task at hand starting with Australia on Tuesday.”

* Junior Wallaby coach Nathan Grey has been forced into a number of changes to his side.

Prop Massimo de Lutiis (hamstring) and lock Jhy Legg (ankle) will play no further part in the tournament after suffering injuries in last Thursday’s loss to Ireland.

Darby Lancaster and Ned Slack-Smith are also unavailable for selection due to concussion protocols, while Marley Pearce will serve the final game of his two-match suspension.

Nick Bloomfield, Toby Macpherson, Nick Baker, Leafi Heka Talataina, Taj Annan and Ronan Leahy return to the starting side for Tuesday’s game at Athlone Sports Stadium.

* Ireland coach Richie Murphy has opted for rotation for Tuesday’s pool match against Fiji in Stellenbosch.

Following two tough Pool matches against England and Australia, Ireland is level on points with England in Pool B.

Back row Diarmuid Mangan has been named captain for Tuesday, with Ireland’s starting XV showing 11 changes from this past Thursday’s bonus point win over Australia in Paarl.

Commenting ahead of the game, Murphy said: “It has been a demanding couple of weeks with short turnarounds between our Pool matches, so it is important for us to use our squad wisely and we have selected the best 23 players for Tuesday’s challenge against Fiji.

“There is real excitement among the group as players get their starting opportunity in a green jersey and we’re looking forward to seeing how they perform and put their best foot forward for the team as we bid to finish the Pool stages strongly and give ourselves the best chance of progressing through to the semifinals.”

* New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw has made several changes for the final pool match, against Japan.

Props Malakai Hala and Gabe Robinson are promoted to the starting pack either side of Jack Taylor at hooker.

Tahlor Cahill is joined by Hunter Morrison in the second row, with Malachi Wrampling-Alec, Sam Hainsworth Fa’aofo and Will Stodart the loose forwards.

In the backs, Noah Hotham (captain) and Taha Kemara will take the field at No.9 and No.10, with a new-look midfield pairing of Ajay Faleafaga and Xavi Taele.

The back three is made up of Macca Springer on the left wing, Isaac Hutchinson on the right wing and Harry Godfrey at fullback.

Laidlaw said while some changes are injury-enforced, others are to give players an opportunity on the field.

“It’s another opportunity to grow and develop this team,” Laidlaw said.

“We are expecting a different challenge against Japan, it will be a fast-paced, open game so we need to build pressure to execute our game plan.

“The men have been applying themselves well and are looking forward to another exciting challenge.”

All the Round Three teams follow below. They will be updated as they become available

World-Rugby-U20-pools-standings-after-two-rounds

Tuesday, July 4

Italy v Georgia
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 11.00; 09.00 GMT)

Teams

Italy: 15 Alessandro Gesi, 14 Francesco Bini, 13 Dewi Passarella, 12 Nicola Bozzo, 11 Lorenzo Elettri, 10 Simone Brisighella, 9 Lorenzo Casilio, 8 Jacopo Botturi, 7 David Odiase (captain), 6 Fabio Ruaro, 5 Pietro Turrisi, 4 Alez Mattioli, 3 Marcos Francesco Gallorini, 2 Nicholas Gasperini, 1 Riccardo Bartolini
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Quattrini, 17 Samuele Taddei, 18 Federico Domenico Pisani, 19 Enrico Pontarini, 20 Carlos Berlese, 21 Sebastiano Battara, 22 Matthias Leon Douglas, 23 Giovanni Sante.

Georgia: 15 Luka Tsirekidze, 14 Luka Khorbaladze, 13 Tornike Kakhoidze, 12 Giorgi Shvelidze, 11 Shalva Aptsiauri, 10 Petre Khutsishvili, 9 Davit Khuroshvili, 8 Nika Lomidze, 7 Lasha Tsikhistavi (captain), 6 Rati Zazadze, 5 Giorgi Nikoladze, 4 Guram Ghaniashvili, 3 Irakli Aptsiauri, 2 Basa Khonelidze, 1 Giorgi Mamaiashvili.
Replacements: 16 Tamaz Chamiashvili, 17 Lasha Pkhakadze, 18 Badri Tsikhistavi, 19 Giorgi Gergedava, 20 Tornike Ghaniashvili, 21 Alexander Jighauri, 22 Nikolas Ragoev, 23 Vazha Mikadze.

Referee: Damian Schneider
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Ben Whitehouse

Ireland v Fiji
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 13.30; 11.30 GMT)

Teams

Ireland: 15 Harry West, 14 James Nicholson, 13 Sam Berman, 12 John Devine, 11 Andrew Osborne, 10 Matthew Lynch, 9 Oscar Cawley, 8 Brian Gleeson, 7 Dan Barron, 6 Diarmuid Mangan, 5 Joe Hopes, 4 Evan O’Connell, 3 Fiachna Barrett, 2 Danny Sheahan, 1 George Hadden.
Replacements: 16 Max Clein, 17 George Morris, 18 Ronan Foxe, 19 Charlie Irvine, 20 Gus McCarthy, 21 Jack Oliver, 22 Sam Prendergast, 23 Henry McErlean.

Fiji: 15 Peni Waqalala, 14 Sireli Masiwini, 13 Waqa Nalaga, 12 Pateresio Finau, 11 Manieta Navonovono, 10 Isaiah Ravula, 9 Philip Baselala, 8 Juda Saumaisue, 7 Moti Murray (captain), 6 Timoci Nakalevu, 5 Nalani May, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Breyton Legge, 2 Joeli Nainoca, 1 Moses McGoon.
Replacements: 16 Josh Kina, 17 Marika Toga, 18 Lasaro Vuluma, 19 Semi Tokitani, 20 Sakenasa Nalasi, 21 Zach Kama, 22 Frank Ralogaivau, 23 Netava Saukuru.

Referee: Morné Ferreira
Assistant referees: Ben Breakspear, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Brett Cronan

Australia v England
(Athlone Sports Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 14.00; 12.00 GMT)

Teams

Australia: 15 Mason Gordon, 14 Tim Ryan, 13 Henry O’Donnell, 12 Taj Annan, 11 Ronan Leahy, 10 Jack Bowen, 9 Teddy Wilson (captain), 8 Leafi Heka, 7 Nick Baker, 6 Lachlan Hooper, 5 Daniel Maiava-Tapusoa, 4 Toby Macpherson, 3 Nick Bloomfield, 2 Max Craig, 1 Jack Barrett.
Replacements: 16 Liam Bowron, 17 Harrison Usher, 18 Trevor King, 19 Ollie McCrea, 20 John Bryant, 21 Klayton Thorn, 22 Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, 23 David Vaihu.

England: 15 Sam Harris, 14 Jacob Cusick, 13 Rekeiti Ma’asi-White, 12 Joseph Woodward, 11 Cassius Cleaves, 10 Connor Slevin, 9 Charlie Bracken, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South, 7 Greg Fisilau, 6 Nathan Michelow, 5 Lewis Chessum (captain), 4 Finn Carnduff, 3 Afolabi Fasogbon, 2 Nathan Jibulu, 1 Asher Opoku-Fordjour.
Replacements: 16 Finn Theobald-Thomas, 17 Archie McArthur, 18 James Halliwell, 19 Harvey Cuckson, 20 Tristan Woodman, 21 Nye Thomas, 22 Joe Jenkins, 23 Louie Johnson.

Referee: Eoghan Cross
Assistant referees: Hollie Davidson, Griffin Colby
TMO: Brendon Pickerill

New Zealand v Japan
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 16.00; 14.00 GMT)

Teams

New Zealand: 15 Harry Godfrey, 14 Isaac Hutchinson, 13 Xavi Taele, 12 Ajay Faleafaga, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Taha Kemara, 9 Noah Hotham (captain), 8 Malachi Wrampling-Alec, 7 Sam Hainsworth-Fa’aofo, 6 Will Stodart, 5 Hunter Morrison, 4 Tahlor Cahill, 3 Gabe Robinson, 2 Jack Taylor, 1 Malakai Hala.
Replacements: 16 Vernon Bason, 17 Ben Ake, 18 Siale Lauaki, 19 Tom Allen, 20 Cooper Flanders, 21 Riley Williams, 22 Leo Gordon, 23 Code Vai.

Japan: 15 Yoshitaka Yazaki, 14 Ryohei Imano, 13 Shota Taira, 12 Kengo Nonaka, 11 Kosho Muto, 10 Taishin Ohshima, 9 Yutaro Takahashi, 8 Taison Mogami, 7 Toki Toshikawa, 6 Tenta Kobayashi, 5 Kantaro Tajima, 4 Ryotaro Nose, 3 Kosuke Sugiura, 2 Takashi Omoto, 1 Tomoki Yumbe.
Replacements: 16 Kouta Nagashima, 17 Sena Hwang, 18 Riku Tomita, 19 Bunsuke Kurita, 20 Keito Hayashi, 21 Genki Ikuta, 22 Kanjiro Naramoto, 23 Renji Oike.

Referee: Reuben Keane
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Joy Neville

France v Wales
(Athlone Sports Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 16.30; 14.30 GMT)

Teams

France: 15 Théo Attisogbé, 14 Nicolas Depoortère, 13 Maxence Biasotto, 12 Arthur Mathiron, 11 Maël Moustin, 10 Clément Mondinat, 9 Léo Carbonneau, 8 Mathis Castro Ferreira, 7 Andy Timo, 6 Esteban Capilla, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 4 Brent Liufau, 3 Zaccharie Affane, 2 Barnabé Massa, 1 Lino Julien.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Lacombre, 17 Alexandre Kaddouri, 18 Thomas Duchene, 19 Lenni Nouchi, 20 Noa Zinzen, 21 Baptiste Jauneau, 22 Hugo Reus, 23 Paul Costes.

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Tom Florence, 13 Louie Hennessey, 12 Bryn Bradley, 11 Harri Houston, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Archie Hughes, 8 Morgan Morse, 7 Seb Driscoll, 6 Ryan Woodman (captain), 5 Jonny Green, 4 Liam Edwards, 3 Kian Hire, 2 Sam Scarfe, 1 Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths.
Replacements: 16 Lewis Lloyd, 17 Josh Morse, 18 Louis Fletcher, 19 Mackenzie Martin, 20 Gwilym Evans, 21 Joe Westwood, 22 Harri Wiilde, 23 Harri Williams.

Referee: Takehito Namekawa
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey, Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Tom Foley

South Africa v Argentina
(Athlone Sports Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 19.00; 17.00 GMT)

Teams

South Africa: 15 Hakeem Kunene, 14 Jurenzo Julius, 13 Katlego Letebele, 12 Ethan Hooker, 11 Michael Annies, 10 Jean Smith, 9 Imad Khan, 8 Corne Beets, 7 Ghudian van Reenen, 6 Paul de Villiers (captain), 5 Jacob van Heerden, 4 Coetzee le Roux, 3 Dian Heunis, 2 Juan Else, 1 Cornè Lavagna.
Replacements: 16 Samuel Kotze, 17 Phatu Ganyane, 18 Zachary Porthen, 19 Jannes Potgieter, 20 Abulele Ndabambi, 21 Asad Moos, 22 Damian Markus, 23 Regan Izaks.

Argentina: 15 Mateo Soler, 14 Ernesto Giudice, 13 Faustino Sánchez Valarolo, 12 Nicolás López González, 11 Ignacio Lucero, 10 Valentino Dicapua, 9 Agustín Moyano, 8 Benjamín Grondona, 7 Aitor Bildosola, 6 Eliseo Chiavassa (captain), 5 Efraín Eliás, 4 Federico Rolotti, 3 Renzo Zanella, 2 Tomás Bartolini, 1 Matías Medrano
Replacements: 16 Valentino Minoyetti, 17 Francisco Palazzi, 18 Tomás Rapetti, 19 Facundo García Hamilton, 20 Felipe Bares, 21 Nicolás Viola, 22 Juan Baronio, 23 Valentín Soler Filloy.

Referee: Luc Ramos
Assistant referees: Hollie Davidson, Griffin Colby
TMO: Brendon Pickerill

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