Rugby

Junior Boks call on reinforcements in France

2018-06-04 14:42
Phendulani Buthelezi (Gallo)

Cape Town - Western Province flyhalf David Coetzer and Sharks No 8 Phendulani Buthelezi will join the Junior Springboks in France on Tuesday as injury replacements for Damian Willemse and Muller du Plessis, respectively. 

Willemse suffered a knee injury in the team’s World Rugby U20 Championship match against Ireland on Sunday, which will sideline him for four to six weeks. Du Plessis injured a gluteal muscle in the same match, and is expected to be out for between two and four weeks. 

Buthelezi and Coetzer both have Junior Springbok experience having featured in the team’s warm-up matches, with Buthelezi taking to the field in all three matches on the UK tour and against Georgia in Stellenbosch, while Coetzer played against Wales and England on tour. 

With sufficient cover among the backs, as centre Rikus Pretorius and winger Sihle Njezula will return to action in the coming games, the coach opted to call up a back and forward as replacements. 

“It is never good when players suffer injuries,” said Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux. 

Roux had full faith in Coetzer and Buthelezi and said: “It is certainly a positive to gain players like David and Phendulani. They have been in SA Rugby’s Elite Player Development system for a while now, and they were with us on the UK tour, so they know exactly what to expect from us and they will slot in with ease.” 

Having had time to reflect on the match against Ireland, the coach said: “I think we played in patches, but our scrums were good. We usually have a very good lineout, but for some reason it didn’t function. So there are small changes we need make and I am sure we will rectify that for the game against France.” 

With the match against France kicking off at 21h00 on Thursday in Narbonne, Roux said they would adapt the training schedule in the next few days to ensure that the players could adjust accordingly. 

“We have changed our programme slightly so we will be training in the evenings,” he said.

“It is simply a case of resetting our clocks and I am sure everyone will adapt easily to that.” 

The players will focus on recovery on Monday, and return to the training field on Tuesday to begin their preparations for the French clash.  

Read more on:    junior boks  |  rugby
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