Junior Boks to unlock England with best combinations
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.