South Africa and Argentina name their teams for Round 2 of TRC U20.

Zachary Porthen resumes the captaincy of a reshuffled Junior Springboks starting line-up for Sunday’s final Under-20 Rugby Championship match against Argentina at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Bokarina on the eastern seaboard of Queensland in Australia.

Porthen was not considered for the previous encounter with Australia because of a hand injury, but he is back in the starting line-up to lead a Junior Bok team showing a number of changes for their third and final fixture of the new Sanzaar competition. 

Only four players in the starting team will run out in the same positions they played against Australia – JF van Heerden (lock), who captained the SA U20s against Australia, Tiaan Jacobs (No 8), Litelihle Bester (left wing) and Jurenzo Julius (outside centre).

Another three players will again start, but in different positions – Bathobele Hlekani (flanker/lock), as well as Josh Boulle and Phillip Albert van Niekerk (utility backs).

Amongst the forward there is a new-look front row consisting of props Ruan Swart and Porthen and hooker Juan Smal. Van Heerden forms the tweaked lock combination with Thomas Dyer, while Hlanki, Sibabalwe Mahashe (flankers) and Jacobs (No 8) form the loose trio. 

In the reshuffled backline, Bruce Sherwood moves from his regular midfield position to fullback, Joel Leotlela comes in for Boulle at right wing, with Boulle shifting to inside centre. Van Niekerk moves from inside centre to flyhalf and the scrumhalf jersey is handed to Ezekiel Ngobeni with Asad Moos now playing off the bench.

Liyema Ntshanga, Casper Badenhorst (front rankers) and JC Mars (utility back) were retained on the replacement bench, while Adam de Waal and Michail Damon were not considered for selection due to injuries.

Junior Bok head coach Bafana Nhleko said the team wants to show an improvement in their performance and play to their potential, which was not the case in their draw with New Zealand and defeat to Australia.  

“We all realise the quality of play in the two previous two matches were not up to our standards and it’s the small margins that keep hurting us,” said Nhleko.

“Growth is about applying the learnings and I hope we can showcase the ability we have within the group.” 

According to the SA U20 coach, his team wants to shake off their frustrating inconsistency and error rate: “Up to now we’ve not been able to string together significant passages of play to get rewards, thus releasing pressure for the opposition and we have not managed the game well, when we have taken the lead in both games.

“Despite those shortcomings we still managed to keep ourselves in contention right until the end of both games, which proves our fighting spirit and parts of our ability.

“We have worked hard to rectify those areas and have prepared well, now the players must go out and show what they can do. Argentina demonstrated their ability against Australia especially at set piece and they, just like us, would want to bounce back from their disappointment against New Zealand, so we must show the right attitude to meet that challenge,” added Nhleko.

Junior Springbok team versus Argentina:

15 Bruce Sherwood
14 Joel Leotlela
13 Jurenzo Julius (vice-captain)
12 Joshua Boulle
11 Litelihle Bester
10 Philip-Albert van Niekerk
9 Ezekiel Ngobeni
8 Tiaan Jacobs
7 Bathobele Hlekani
6 Sibabalwe Mahashe
5 JF van Heerden (vice-captain)
4 Thomas Dyer
3 Zachary Porthen (captain)
2 Juan Smal
1 Ruan Swart

Replacements: 16 Ethan Bester, 17 Liyema Ntshanga, 18 Casper Badenhorst, 19 Thabang Mphafi , 20 Divan Fuller , 21 Asad Moos, 22 Thurlon Williams, 23 JC Mars

The unprecedented Rugby Championship enters its final round, however, it is the beginning of a profitable path for Los Pumitas, which, beyond the results against the youth teams of great powers in the southern hemisphere, will have a more than positive balance in terms of the players' development and international contact. facing a new edition of the world championship in the category (it will be played from June 29 to July 19 in South Africa). The national team will close the competition on Sunday, May 12 at 00:30 in our country (as soon as it begins on Sunday) against South Africa.

Regarding the competition, Argentina, with a victory against Australia (25-6) and a loss against New Zealand (20-43), is in second position with five points. To win the title of this first edition of the competition, Los Pumitas will have to beat South Africa and hope that New Zealand does not do the same against the Australian youth team. Dan Waenga (New Zealand) will referee Los Pumitas' match against the Junior Springboks, while Argentine Nehuén Jauri Rivero will be in charge of refereeing the match between Australia and New Zealand.

Galo Álvarez Quiñones, one of Argentina's coaches, detailed the key points of the week's work to arrive in the best way to the last match of the tournament "The team arrives very well, with a very good state of mind and a lot of confidence, having very clear what their strengths and solid bases are for the match, also having worked on the issues to improve after the match against New Zealand. We have all the team available to play, eager to be competitive and win. Let's hope everything goes as planned."

For the match against the Junior Springboks, Álvaro Galindo made 10 changes and one position rotation in the starting lineup and seven changes to the substitute bench. Among the starters, the appearance of Diego Correa, Juan Greising Revol, who will make his debut with the team in the competition, Tomás Rapetti, Álvaro García Iandolino, Juan Penoucos, Santos Fernández de Oliveira, Ignacio Torrado, Facundo Rodríguez, Franco Rossetto stands out and Faustino Sánchez Valarolo. Likewise, Timoteo Silva will move from right wing. Regarding the substitutes, the Teqüe Rugby Club player, Jerónimo Llorens, appears as a novelty, who will be his first appearance among the 23. The only ones who maintain their place among the starting 15 are Efraín Elías, Tomás Di Biase, Tomás Medina, Timoteo Silva (goes from 14) and Benjamín Elizalde

Los Pumitas squad versus Junior Springbok:

1.  CORREA,  Diego (Club Atlético Estudiantes), 
2.  GREISING REVOL,  Juan (La Tablada)
3.  RAPETTI,  Tomás (Alumni)        
4.  ELÍAS , Efraín – Captain (Jockey Club of Córdoba)
5.  GARCÍA IANDOLINO,  Álvaro (Los Tordos)         
6.  PENOUCOS,  Juan (Belgrano Athletic)
8.  TORRADO , Ignacio (ALMOST)     
9.  DI BIASE,  Tomás (Deportiva Francaise)        
10.  RODRÍGUEZ,  Facundo (Jockey Club of Córdoba)           
11.  ROSSETTO , Franco (Club Atlético Estudiantes)
12.  MEDINA , Tomás (Cardinals)       
13.  SÁNCHEZ VALAROLO , Faustino (Palermo Bajo)            
14.  SILVA , Timothy (SIC)
15.  ELIZALDE , Benjamín (Deportiva Francesa / Tigres RC)

Replacements: 16.  VIVAS , Juan Manuel (Los Tordos), 17.  GARGALLO BAZÁN , Gonzalo (Córdoba Athletic), 18.  GALVÁN , Gael (Pucará), 19.  ASEVEDO , Luciano (Liceo RC), 20.  BERNASCONI , Juan Pedro (La Plata RC), 21.  LLORENS , Jerónimo (Teqüe RC), 22.  DI LUCCA , Santino (La Plata RC), 23.  BOCCO , Tomás (Córdoba Athletic)