EP Kings wing Sergeal Petersen will make his Junior Springbok debut on Monday when South Africa kick off their 2014 IRB Junior World Championship campaign against Scotland at the QBE Stadium in Albany, Auckland, a year after he missed the previous tournament because of injury.
Petersen was on Saturday named in the Junior Springbok starting line-up team to face the Scots in the JWC opener. The tournament starts on Monday and the final is set for 20 June at Eden Park.
Vodacom Bulls fly half Handré Pollard will captain the Junior Boks in a starting fifteen that features the strong-running André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks) and Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls) as centre pairing.
Kriel and EP Kings number 8 Aidon Davis are the two vice-captains of the team.
Importantly for the South Africans, Pollard and his two vice-captains all have the benefit of previous JWC experience. Pollard made his debut at the age-grade tournament for the title-winning Junior Boks in 2012 and this is his third JWC tournament in a row.
Kriel, Davids and replacement back Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Vodacom Blue Bulls) were all part of the Junior Boks squad that finished third at the tournament last year in France.
Commenting on the team selection and prospects for Monday, Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron said: “We are well-prepared and the guys are raring to go. The players are anxious to get the first game under their belt but it is important that we start well and lay the foundation from the beginning,” cautioned Theron.
He added: “Scotland will be hugely motivated and they would want to make a statement against us, so it is important that we impose ourselves and play the way we want to play right from the first whistle.”
The Scottish clash is one of three pool matches for the South Africans before the arrival of the crucial knockout stages. The Junior Boks play their second match on 6 June against New Zealand in the same stadium and then complete their pool fixtures on 10 June against Samoa in Pukekohe.
Monday’s match kicks off at 05h35 and will be televised live on SuperSport.
The Junior Springboks team to play against Scotland on Monday:
1. Pierre Schoeman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
2. Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions)
3. Wilco Louw (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4. Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
5. Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
6. Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)
7. Cyle Brink (Golden Lions)
8. Aidon Davis (EP Kings)*
9. Zee Mkhabela (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls, captain)*
11. Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings)
12. André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks)
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)*
14. Lloyd Greeff (Leopards)
15. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
16. Corniel Els (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
17. Dayan van der Westhuizen (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
18. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)
19. JD Schickerling (DHL Western Province)
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)
21. JP Smith (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
22. Jean-Luc Du Plessis (Cell C Sharks)
23. Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)*