Try(ing) time for Baby Bok

George Byron

BABY Bok flyer Seabelo Senatla can write his name into the record books when the South African under-20 team face France at the IRB Junior World Championships tonight.

Senatla took his try tally to six with a first-half brace against England on Sunday and is now just two tries short of the record number of tries scored in a single tournament.

The record is held by All Blacks Zac Guildford (2009) and Julian Savea (2010).

Personal milestones will be put on one side tonight when the Baby Boks seek the victory over hosts France that will catapult them into the semifinals of the tournament.

The Baby Boks have impressed so far with decisive wins over the United States (97-0) and England (31-24).

South African coach Dawie Theron has shuffled his team for tonight’s showdown.

The South Africans will field a new centre combination, a changed halfback pairing and two different props.

Justin Geduld suffered a mild knee ligament sprain against England and will be rested for this match. Depending on his progress, he will be considered for the next match.

Handre Pollard moves from inside centre to flyhalf and Rohan Janse van Rensburg moves into the No12 jersey alongside his Blue Bulls teammate, Dries Swanepoel, who will now wear the No13 jersey.

Robert du Preez (Sharks) moves to the bench to make place for Pollard at No10, while his provincial teammate, Hanco Venter, earns his first start of the campaign in place of Stefan Ungerer.

The new props are Sti Sithole and Marné Coetzee who will replace Luhan de Bruin and Andrew Beerwinkel.

Theron said it was necessary to change the team after the same match 15 did duty against the US and England.

“We played a tough match against England so it is important that we bring in some fresh legs.

“This match against France is a crucial one for both teams. We cannot afford to lose because there are still a number of teams who can grab the four semifinal spots.

“We know we are going to face a very brave and passionate French team. They are under pressure because of their loss against England and also because of the expectations of their home fans,” Theron said.

The SA team:

Cheslin Kolbe, Luther Obi, Dries Swanepoel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Seabelo Senatla, Handre Pollard, Hanco Venter, Ruan Steenkamp, Jacques du Plessis, Roelof Smit, Dennis Visser, Irne Herbst, Marné Coetzee, Jacques du Toit, Sti Sithole. Replacements: Andrew Beerwinkel, Mike Willemse, Jannes Kirsten, Aidon Davis, Percy Williams, Robert du Preez, Jesse Kriel, Devon Martinus.

Today’s fixtures:

4.45pm: Wales v Argentina; 6.45pm: England v US; 6.45pm: New Zealand v Ireland; 7pm: Scotland v Samoa; 8.45pm: France v South Africa; 8.45pm: Australia v Fiji.

Pool standings (all teams have played two matches): Pool A – South Africa 9, England 5, France 5, US 0. Pool B – New Zealand 9, Ireland 9, Australia 2, Fiji 0. Pool C – Wales 9, Argentina 7, Scotland 1, Samoa 0.

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