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Junior Springboks ‘eager’ for historic clash with rivals New Zealand U20

By Finn Morton
Asad Moos of South Africa A U18 during the U18 International Series match between South Africa A and England at Paarl Gimnasium on August 23, 2022 in Paarl, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Former South Africa Schools captain Zachary Porthen will lead the Junior Springboks in a historic U20 Rugby Championship clash against traditional rugby rivals New Zealand on Thursday.


Porthen, who has been named to start at tighthead prop, is one of five players in South Africa’s 23-man squad who participated in last year’s World Rugby U20 Championship on home soil.

Halfback Asad Moos, centre Jurenzo Julius and wing Litelihle Bester are the others in the run-on side, while vice-captain JF van Heerden will look to make a difference as a second-row replacement.

Captain Porthen joins Ran Swart and Juan Smal in the front-row, while Thomas Dyer and Adam de Waal round out the tight five. Flankers Sibabalwe Mahashe and Bathobele Hlekani join Tiaan Jacobs in an exciting loose forwards trio to take on the Kiwis.

Joining scrum-half Asad Moos in the halves is first five Tylor Sefoor, while Bruce Sherwood and vice-captain Jurenzo Julius will line up just outside the playmaking pair in the midfield.

Litelihle Bester will take his place on the left wing with Joel Leotlela on the right. Michail Damon completes the starting side after being named to wear the No.10 jumper as the team’s fullback.

“The medical and strength and conditioning staff did a sterling job to ensure our group settled in as quickly as possible after our long-haul flight from South Africa, and our preparations went well this week,” coach Bafana Nhleko said in a statement.


“The players are now eager to put in a good effort on the field against a top-quality opponent.

“We all know about the tremendous rivalry and the all-round threat of New Zealand is a well-known fact,” he added.


“Especially the physical battle will be huge between two teams that pride themselves on physicality. The main message has been to focus on ourselves and to drive our behaviours.

“So, as much as there is a lot at stake in this match and we are chasing a good performance, as a group, we are also eager to continue to learn and use this tournament as a great opportunity to further develop as a team.”

This is the first match ever in the history of the U20 Rugby Championship. Later on the opening day, hosts Australia take on Argentina at the same venue (Sunshine Coast Stadium).


South Africa versus New Zealand is scheduled to get underway at 9am (South Africa time) or 5pm for those in Australia. It will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Junior Springboks to take on New Zealand U20

  1. Ruan Swart
  2. Juan Smal
  3. Zachary Porthen (c)
  4. Thomas Dyer
  5. Adam de Waal
  6. Sibabalwe Mahashe
  7. Bathobele Hlekani
  8. Tiaan Jacobs
  9. Asad Moos
  10. Tylor Sefoor
  11. Litelihle Bester
  12. Bruce Sherwood
  13. Jurenzo Julius (vc)
  14. JoeL Leotlela
  15. Michail Damon


  1. Ethan Bester
  2. Mbasa Maqubela
  3. Reno Hirst
  4. JF van Heerden (vc)
  5. Thabang Mphafi
  6. Ezekiel Ngobeni
  7. Thurlon Williams
  8. Joshua Boulle

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William 4 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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