CAPE TOWN — Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron has confirmed his starting line-up for their World Rugby Under-20 Championship opening clash against hosts Italy in Calvisano tonight.
Number 8 Hanro Liebenberg will lead out a Junior Springbok match-23 sprinkled with several players who also took part in last year’s event in New Zealand, where they lost by a single point against defending champions England.
Theron stuck mainly to the combinations that earned his team a morale-boosting 2-0 series win over Los Pumitas last month in Argentina.
Sharks prop Thomas du Toit will anchor the scrum and is one of the players who will participate in his second successive tournament, as well as lock Abongile Nonkontwana (Bulls) and Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks). Another survivor from last year, Joseph Dweba (hooker, Cheetahs), will play off the bench.
Warrick Gelant is also returning for his second tournament in a row and the Springbok Sevens international starts in the No. 15 jersey.
Much is expected of the centre pairing of JT Jackson (Bulls) and Daniel du Plessis (Western Province) in particular.
“This is a well-balanced team and the squad are overall in good shape. We have done a lot of mental preparation for this match because Italy will come out fighting all the way,” said Theron.
Junior Springbok team to face Italy on Tuesday evening in Calvisano
Warrick Gelant, Khanyo Ngcukana, Daniel du Plessis, JT Jackson, Leolin Zas, Brandon Thomson, Ivan van Zyl, Hanro Liebenberg, Jean-Luc du Preez, Rikus Bothma, RG Snyman, Abongile Nonkontwana, Thomas du Toit, Jan van der Merwe, Ox Nche.
Replacements: Joseph Dweba, Njabulo Gumede, Frans van Wyk Jason Jenkins, Dan du Preez, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Tinus de Beer, Malcolm Jaer