Junior Springboks captain Wiaan Liebenberg will lead a team with IRB Junior World Championship as well as Vodacom Super Rugby experience when they take on Ireland in their opening Pool B match in Stellenbosch on Monday.
Paul Jordaan and Tshotsho Mbovane (outside backs) played in the 2011 tournament in Italy, while Jordaan (The Sharks), locks Pieter Steph du Toit (The Sharks), Ruan Botha and Paul Willemse (MTN Lions) and prop Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) have all played Vodacom Super Rugby in 2012.
Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron named his side on Sunday and expressed satisfaction with his selection. “We have put a lot of focus on our first game against Ireland and I’m happy to say that we were able to pick a team with this match in mind. We have a good mix of experience and skill and everyone is keen and ready to go,” Theron said.
“It is great to have players with experience of Vodacom Super Rugby available, but the challenge will be for those players to contribute to the Junior Springboks in a constructive way.”
Theron said it would be a huge honour for the team to play in front of home crowds, although that brought its own challenges.
“We realise there will be added pressure because we’re playing at home, but we see that as positive pressure. We have a huge opportunity to play in front of familiar crowds and in familiar conditions and we need to make the most of it.”
Liebenberg, who captained the side in warm-up tests against Argentina earlier this year, said that the players were ready to go.
“We‘ve worked very hard to get to this point and now it’s time to deliver. Everyone is keen and ready to go and looking forward to the opportunity and privilege of representing our country against the best age group players in the world.”
Junior Springbok team to face Ireland: 15. Dillyn Leyds (DHL Western Province), 14. Paul Jordaan (KZN), 13. Pat Howard (DHL Western Province), 12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 11. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Free State), 10. Tony Jantjies (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 9. Abrie Griesel (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 8. Fabian Booysen (MTN Golden Lions), 7. Wiaan Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls, capt), 6. Shaun Adendorff (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 5. Pieter Steph du Toit (KZN), 4. Paul Willemse (MTN Golden Lions), 3. Allan Dell (KZN), 2. Mark Pretorius (MTN Golden Lions) 1. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province)
Replacements: 16. Jason Thomas (Vodacom Blue Bulls), 17. Oliver Kebble (DHL Western Province) , 18. Ruan Botha (MTN Golden Lions), 19. Braam Steyn (KZN), 20. Vian van der Watt (MTN Golden Lions), 21. Handrè Pollard (DHL Western Province), 22. Tshotsho Mbovane (DHL Western Province), 23. Maks van Dyk (KZN)
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