Cape Town - Zain Davids, newly-capped Springbok Sevens player and one of a handful of players in the current SA U20 training group that travelled to last year’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship, will lead the Junior Springboks against the Varsity Cup Dream Team at the Danie Craven Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux named his 23-man squad on Monday, which features six players who were in the run-on team in their last warm-up match against the Free State Cheetahs, as well as Davids and Stedman Gans, both of whom have been playing for the Blitzboks in the World Rugby Sevens Series in the last three months.
The players who retained their places in the starting team are Manie Libbok, who moves from fullback to right wing, Wandisile Simelane who moves from right to left wing, the halfback pairing of flyhalf Damian Willemse and scrumhalf Embrose Papier, No 8 Len Massyn and prop Kwenzo Blose.
“This match will serve as the last chance to see what the players have to offer before we begin to finalise our squad for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship, so it is a significant match for the players and the coaches,” said Roux.
“For some of our players this will be their first match with us, as injuries and other commitments ruled them out of contention for our other warm-up games, and we are excited to see what they have to offer. This match will also offer us the opportunity to test a few new player combinations.
“We showed encouraging progress as a squad in our last three games, and I hope that we can build on that against the Varsity Cup Dream Team.”
Roux, who guided Maties to three successive Varsity Cup titles between 2008 and 2010, expected a tough challenge from the Dream Team, and said the match marked an important step in their preparations for the international spectacle in Georgia.
“The Varsity Cup Dream Team is made up of the top performers in the competition throughout the season, so they will test us, and that is exactly what we want,” said Roux.
“We will be playing against the best Under-20 teams in the world in Georgia, and we need to be as well prepared as possible to have a shot at winning the title.
“I was pleased with our defence in our warm-up matches up to now, and I would like to see the team build on that high standard on Tuesday, and deliver a solid performance all around.
“We have had more time to work on our lineouts and scrummaging over the last week in Stellenbosch, and we hope to see that contribute to an effective performance.”
15 Gianni Lombard (Golden Lions), 14 Manie Libbok (Blue Bulls), 13 Stedman Gans (Blue Bulls), 12 Wayne van der Bank (Golden Lions), 11 Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions), 10 Damian Willemse (Western Province), 9 Embrose Papier (Blue Bulls), 8 Len Massyn (Golden Lions), 7 Muller Uys (Western Province), 6 Zain Davids (captain, Western Province), 5 Ruben van Heerden (Blue Bulls), 4 Salmaan Moerat (Western Province), 3 Carlu Sadie (Western Province), 2 Johan Grobbelaar (Blue Bulls), 1 Kwenzo Blose (Free State Cheetahs)
Substitutes: 16 PJ Botha (Golden Lions), 17 Gerhard Steenekamp (Blue Bulls), 18 Wikus Groenewald (Western Province), 19 Hendre Stassen (Blue Bulls), 20 Nama Xaba (Western Province), 21 Hacjivah Dayimani (Golden Lions), 22 Rewan Kruger (Free State Cheetahs), 23 Jean-Luc Cilliers (Golden Lions)
Varsity Cup Dream Team
15 Craig Barry (Maties - captain), 14 Sibahle Maxwane (UP-Tuks), 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi (UJ), 12 Impi Visser (UP-Tuks), 11 Duncan Saal (Maties), 10 Tinus De Beer (UP-Tuks), 9 Andrew Warner (UP-Tuks), 8 Kevin Kaba (Madibaz), 7 Phumzile Maqondwana (Shimlas), 6 Daniël Maartens (Shimlas), 5 Loftus Morrison (NWU-Pukke), 4 Aston Fortuin (UP-Tuks), 3 Nico du Plessis (UJ), 2 Wilmar Arnoldi (NWU-Pukke), 1 Andrew Beerwinkel (UP-Tuks)
Substitutes: 16 Johannes Snyman (UJ), 17 Luvuyo Pupuma (Wits), 18 Dillon Bakos (UJ), 19 Johan Momsen (Maties), 20 Chris Massyn (UP-Tuks), 21 Herchele Jantjes (UWC), 22 Ernst Stapelberg (Maties), 23 Aidynn Cupido (UWC).
Junior Springboks (Thys Lombard)Varsity Cup Dream Team (Thys Lombard)