Ju­nior Boks to un­lock Eng­land with best com­bi­na­tions

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

JU­NIOR SPRINGBOK coach Chean Roux is con­fi­dent that he has se­lected the “best pos­si­ble com­bi­na­tions” for their World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nal against Eng­land to­day (4pm kick-off).

Roux has made only one change to his start­ing team that whipped Ar­gentina 72-14 at the Avchala Sta­dium in Ge­or­gia last week. Prior to their morale-boost­ing win over Ar­gentina, the Baby Boks only man­aged a 23-all draw against France in their open­ing match of the tour­na­ment, and one week later they beat the hosts 38-14.

Sal­maan Mo­erat will start at lock in the semi­fi­nal showdown against an un­de­feated English side, and he will pair up with Ruben van Heer­den in the place of Hen­dre Stassen, who is nurs­ing a knee in­jury. On the bench, prop LeeMarvin Maz­ibuko comes in for Wikus Groe­newald who is out with the flu, while Rein­hard Noth­nagel will pro­vide back-up for Mo­erat and Van Heer­den.

“We looked at Eng­land’s strengths and we think these are the best com­bi­na­tions for us for the semi-fi­nal,” Roux said about his team se­lec­tion. Eng­land de­feated Ire­land 45-21 in the fi­nal of the 2016 edi­tion of the tour­na­ment in Manch­ester to win the com­pe­ti­tion, and Roux is well aware of the fine form that the English are in this time around.

Roux said that he is ex­pect­ing a phys­i­cal on­slaught from Eng­land, who are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, but added that his team’s fo­cus was on de­liv­er­ing a qual­ity per­for­mance to ad­vance to the fi­nal.

“This is a big game for us,” said Roux. “Eng­land are a phys­i­cal side and they are full of con­fi­dence. They are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons as well. But that said, our plans are in place as a team and we just need to go out there and ex­e­cute it.”

The game will be hosted at the Mikheil Meskhi Sta­dium, with New Zealand fac­ing France in the other semi-fi­nal.

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