South Africa wary of wounded Ireland ahead of crunch clash

·2-min read
South Africa captain Sacha Mngomezulu (right) scored in their opening day victory against England in Verona (©INPHO/Ben Brady)

By Ben Hart in Verona

Junior Boks assistant coach Chean Roux has urged a much-changed pack to raise the intensity against Under-20s Six Nations champions Ireland.

South Africa have made six changes in total, all in the forwards, for their second Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series fixture, and Roux stressed the importance of squad rotation given the tight turnaround between matches.

Despite an immensely physical battle in their 30-22 victory over England, Roux warned his side of the threat a wounded Ireland will pose, who are desperate to avoid a second Championship defeat after opening-day misery against France.

“I think we should step up our intensity,” Roux said.

“I thought we did well with England, for starters, but now we’re used to where we live and what the field looks like and I think everyone has found their rhythm.

“The Irish will be hurting after that loss to France and we have to make sure we are physically and mentally prepared and up for the challenge.”

Just two forwards survive the cull as head coach Bafana Nhleko rings the changes.

Only Reinhardt Ludwig and Cameron Hanekom, who scored in the win over England, start for the second time in five days.

The new front-row should be familiar with one another, with all three playing their club rugby for Vodacom Bulls. Sivuyise Mabece and Corne Lavanga line up either side of hooker Tiaan Lange.

Further back, there are first starts for Corne Rahl, Paul de Villiers and Louw Nel, while the backline remains completely unchanged with fly-half Sacha Mngomezulu, who registered three assists in Round 1, skippering the side once again.

“They’re a very good side, the champions of the Six Nations,” said Roux, speaking about Wednesday’s opponents.

“So if we don’t have the intensity it’ll be a long day for us. We’ve had a good workout and hopefully things will fall into place for us.

“They are a proud team who showed what they're capable of during their recent Six Nations campaign, so we have no doubt they will bring it against us.”

The game kicks off at 7pm BST at the Payanini Centre in Verona, after the conclusion of ‘Le Crunch’, with France playing England in the first fixture of Round 2.

A win for South Africa would set them up nicely for top spot in Pool A, and recent history favours them, with three wins in their last four meetings against Ireland at this age group.

The Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHm6BFw-9JRA1CMekNLwMg

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