Preview: Junior Boks to bring energy and effort to Italian clash

Preview: Junior Boks to bring energy and effort to Italian clash

The Junior Springboks plan to deliver an energetic effort at Paarl Gymnasium on Thursday, where they will take on Italy in their second Pool C match of the 2023 World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

Junior Boks assistant coach, Lumumba Currie, was confident that the sell-out crowd will get good value for money and time spent, especially if they come in support of the South African Under-20 team.

“We are expecting a cracker of a game. We are coming with energy and effort and Italy are a team who play with lots of passion and skill. So, we are expecting a fierce battle,” Currie said.

The Junior Boks are happy to have the first game behind them and now start to focus on continued improvement, Currie indicated.

“We did struggle in certain areas against Georgia, but then, that first game was always going to be a tough one for us, as we have not played at that level for a while and intensity was something we needed to get used to. Now that it is out of the way, we are looking at stepping up in our effort and output.”

South Africa were put under huge pressure by the Georgian pack at scrum-time and won only 57% possession on their own put-in, the worst return in round one and therefor struggled to get their attack going as a result. They carried for the fewest metres (209) and made the fewest passes (76) in the match, post-match stats revealed.

“We did address that. It was all a matter of experience I believe, and some of the changes to the team will reflect that. We did tell the players that all will get a run in the opening two games and that plan has not changed.

“The changes are not in disrespect to Italy or anything, we just need to give everyone in the squad the opportunity to get into the tournament. Yes, we need to lay a better platform this time and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

Currie said the experience of Cornѐ Lavagna, who will start at loose head, and Tiaan Wessels at lock will benefit them at scrum time. “Blokkies (Lavagna) did play in last year’s U20 Summer Series, so has good experience at this level and Tiaan is a scrumming lock, so we are looking at good outcomes in that regard.”

The Italian challenge will be fierce, Currie predicted: “They will be hurting because of the big loss against Argentina as they are a better team than that. They came within one score of beating England and France in the Six Nations and play with lots of skill and flair. But we have our plan ready for this match and have worked hard to deliver the best outcome for us.”

Italy also made 10 changes to their side and two positional changes, but for Currie that is of little significance.

“We are just looking at ourselves and what we need to do in this game to get the win. We are looking for good improvement from the last match and I am confident that the result will be a positive one for us.”

Head to Head:

Osaka 2009: Junior Boks won 65-3

Cape Town 2012: Junior Boks won 52-3

Calvisano 2015: Junior Boks won 33-5

Match details: South Africa v Italy

 Venue: Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl

Kick-off: 16h00

Referee: Rueben Keane (Australia)

TV: Live on SuperSport 211

Junior Springboks vs Italy:
15. Regan Izaks (uncapped)
14. Michael Annies – 1 cap, 0 points
13. Katlego Letebele (vice-captain) – 3 caps, 5 points (1 try)
12. Damian Markus - 1 cap, 0 points
11. Quewin Nortje (uncapped)
10. Sam Francis (uncapped)
9. Neil Le Roux (4 caps, 0 points)
8. Cornѐ Beets (uncapped)
7. Jannes Potgieter - 1 cap, 0 points
6. Paul de Villiers (captain) - 5 caps, 0 points
5. JF van Heerden - 1 cap, 0 points
4. Tiaan Wessels (uncapped)
3. Mawande Mdanda – 1 cap, 0 points
2. Juann Else - 4 caps, 0 points
1. Cornè Lavagna – 3 caps, 0 points
16. SJ Kotze – 1 cap, 0 points
17. Phatu Ganyane – 1 cap, 0 points
18. Zachary Porthen – 1 cap, 0 points
19. Ghudian van Reenen – 1 cap, 0 points
20. Gcinokuhle Mdletshe - 5 caps, 0 points
21. Imad Khan - 5 caps, 5 points (1 try)
22. Litelihle Bester (uncapped)
23. Jurenzo Julius – 1 cap, 5 points (1 try)

Italy Squad

15. GESI Alessandro (2003, Livorno Rugby)

14. BINI Francesco (2004, Florentia Rugby)

13. ELETTRI Lorenzo (2004, Rugby Rovigo Delta)

12. PASSARELLA Dewi (2003, Benetton Rugby Treviso)

11. DOUGLAS Matthias Leon (2003, Mogliano Veneto Rugby)

10. BRISIGHELLA Simone (2004, Rugby Viadana 1970)

9. CASILIO Lorenzo (2004, Rugby Paese)

8. RUARO Fabio (2003, Rugby Parma F.C. 1931) 

7. ODIASE David (C – 2003, Oyonnax Rugby)

6. LAVORENTI Filippo (2003, CUS Torino)

5. TURRISI Pietro (2003, Racing 92 Paris)

4. PONTARINI Enrico (2003, Rugby Casale)

3. PISANI Federico Domenico (2004, Verona Rugby)

2. GASPERINI Nicholas (2004, Stade Français Paris)

1. BARTOLINI Riccardo (2003, Cavalieri U.R. Prato Sesto)

A disposizione: 

16. QUATTRINI Giovanni (2003, Asd Rugby Milano)

17. TADDEI Samuele (2003, Rugby Noceto FC) 

18. GALLORINI Marcos Francesco (2004, Unione Rugby Capitolina)

19. MATTIOLI Alex (2003, Rugby Colorno 1975)

20. BERLESE Carlos (2003, Ruggers Tarvisium)

21. BATTARA Sebastiano (2003, Mogliano Veneto Rugby)

22. SANTE Giovanni (2003, Montpellier Hérault Rugby)

23. RUBINATO Matteo (2003, Rugby Paese)

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