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Junior Boks turn to Willemse in U20 Championship opener


Cape Town – Junior Springbok flyhalf Damian
Willemse
will make his first appearance of the season for the SA U20’s in a
settled starting team when Chean Roux’s charges meet Georgia in their opening
match of the World Rugby U20 Championship at Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan on
Wednesday. 

Willemse, one of seven players in
the match-day squad who participated in the tournament in Georgia last year, will
partner with Zak Burger at halfback after coming off a solid Super
Rugby campaign for the Stormers in the last few months. 

Lock and captain Salmaan Moerat,
centre Wandisile Simelane, No 8 Muller Uys, fullback Gianni Lombard, hooker
Daniel Jooste and replacement scrumhalf Rewan Kruger are the other players in
Roux’s match-23 who featured in the international spectacle in Tbilisi. 

Moerat and Ruan Nortje will form
the lock duo, while flankers Dian Schoonees and PJ Steenkamp pair up with Uys
in the loose trio, and Rikus Pretorius and Simelane will do duty in the
midfield. 

Lombard starts at fullback, with
Tyrone Green and Sihle Njezula at wing, while Jooste and props Sazi Sandi and
Nathan McBeth will pack down in the front row. 

On the bench, replacement lock
Ruan Nortje will make his Junior Springbok debut if he takes to the field after
missing the team’s internationals in the lead-up to the tournament due to a
knee injury. 

“We were fortunate to be able to
select a settled squad, which will be handy against a physical and passionate
Georgian outfit,” said Roux. 

“All the players are fit and
eager to play, and we selected a team that we thought would be best suited to
the game against Georgia.”

Looking ahead at the clash
against Georgia, Roux said he is expecting a physical onslaught.

“Georgia play
with their hearts on their sleeves and they will take to the field with
everything they have. They are a forward-driven team, with a good scrum and
lineout maul, so they will probably try to lay the foundation there. But that
said, our plans for the game are mapped out and hopefully we can counter that,” he said. 

The match kicks off at 18:30 (SA time) and
will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1. 

Junior Springbok team to face
Georgia:
 

15 Gianni Lombard (Golden Lions), 14 Tyrone Green (Golden Lions), 13 Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions), 12 Rikus Pretorius (Western Province), 11 Sihle Njezula (Western Province), 10 Damian Willemse (Western Province), 9 Zak Burger (Sharks), 8 Muller Uys (Western
Province), 7 PJ Steenkamp (Golden
Lions), 6 Dian Schoonees (Golden Lions), 5 Ruan Nortje (Blue
Bulls), 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain, Western Province), 3 Sazi Sandi (Western
Province), 2 Daniel Jooste (Western
Province), 1 Nathan McBeth (Golden Lions)

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Erasmus (Western Province), 17 Alulutho Tshakweni
(Eastern Province), 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye
(Golden Lions), 19 Ben-Jason Dixon (Western Province), 20 Ruan Vermaak (Golden Lions), 21 Rewan Kruger (Free
State), 22 Lubabalo Dobela (Free State), 23 Lyle Hendricks (Western Province)

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