The Junior Springboks have made seven changes to their starting lineup for their final warm-up match against SWD in Oudtshoorn on Saturday.
Bulls lock Eli Snyman and Kings scrumhalf James Hall earn their first starts for the SA U20s. Hall joined the squad earlier this week after being released by his Super Rugby franchise for international duty, while Snyman has recovered from a lower leg injury.
The other changes were in the front row where prop Kwenzo Blose replaces Franco van den Berg and Carlü Sadie comes in for Jaco Holtzhausen. Snyman, meanwhile, fills the void left by Eduard Zandberg who suffered a concussion against Maties on Tuesday.
In a positional switch, Manie Libbok will start at flyhalf and Curwin Bosch moves to fullback. This will see Hall and Libbok form a new halfback pairing, with Hall replacing Marco Jansen van Vuren, while centre Franco Naudé will reunite with captain Jeremy Ward in the midfield.
Coach Dawie Theron said the changes offered him an opportunity to test player combinations under pressure for the last time before the team departs for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester.
‘James Hall has been doing very well at the Kings, and I was impressed with what I saw when he took to the field against Maties as a replacement, so I am excited to see him in action against SWD. I am also pleased that Eli can play after recovering from his injury because it has been a frustrating few weeks for him on the sidelines.
‘With regard to the other changes, I wanted to try out combinations for the last time, as this is our final warm-up match. Hopefully by the end of the game I will have a good idea of the player combinations that will work effectively in the tournament.’
The Junior Boks, who will face Japan, Argentina and France in the pool stage of the U20 Championship, depart for the UK on 2 June.
Junior Springboks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward (c), 12 Franco Naudé, 11Mosolwa Mafuma, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 James Hall, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Zain Davids, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Tango Balekile, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Subs: 16 Ruan Brits, 17 Franco van den Berg, 18 Denzel Hill, 19 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 20 Ruben de Villiers, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Embrose Papier, 23 Stedman Gans, 24 Edwill van der Merwe, 25 JT Jackson, 26 Keanu Vers, 27 Jaco Holtzhausen.