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South Africa U20 and England U20 make sweeping changes for third place play-off

By Josh Raisey
Chandler Cunningham-South of England U20 celebrates scoring a try. (Photo by World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

South Africa U20 and England U20 will bring their World Rugby U20 Championships to a close this Friday with wholesale changes to their starting XVs in their third place play-off at Athlone Stadium.

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Following their 31-12 loss to Ireland U20 in the semi-finals, Junior Boks head coach Bafana Nhleko has made eight changes to his starting XV – some forced through injury, some not – with centre Damian Markus set to make his first start of the tournament.

Likewise, England U20 head coach Mark Mapletoft has made changes across the board, bringing in seven new players to his starting XV to the one that lost to France U20 52-31. There has also been a positional tinkering in the back-row, with Harlequins’ Chandler Cunningham-South shifting from No.8 to blindside flanker, forcing Nathan Michelow to move to openside flanker.

Nhleko said: “We said at the start of the tournament that we wanted to give everyone a taste of Test match rugby.

“We did that, but the injuries and the result against Ireland have now given us another opportunity to expand on that, which means we will have some fresh bodies in the squad to face England.”

Mapletoft said: “This is the last opportunity for this group to take to the field together, and I know they can’t wait to give it their all.

“This has been a fantastic learning opportunity for this talented bunch of players, and I’m sure the experience will put them in good stead for the future.

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“Going up against the hosts on Friday will be a challenge, but I have confidence in the players to put in a performance that they can be proud of.”

South Africa U20:
15. Regan Izaks – 3 caps, 0 points
14. Jurenzo Julius – 4 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
13. Katlego Letebele (vice-captain) – 6 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
12. Damian Markus – 4 caps, 5 points (1 try)
11. Quewin Nortje – 1 cap, 0 points
10. Jean Smith – 3 caps, 29 points (7 conversions, 5 penalty goals)
9. Neil le Roux – 5 caps, 0 points
8. Corné Beets – 3 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
7. Hennie Sieberhagen – uncapped
6. Paul de Villiers (captain) – 8 caps, 0 points
5. Tiaan Wessels – 1 cap, 0 points
4. Coetzee le Roux – 3 caps, 5 points (1 try)
3. Mawande Mdanda – 2 caps, 0 points
2. Juann Else – 5 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
1. Phatu Ganyane – 4 caps, 0 points

Replacements:
16. SJ Kotze – 4 caps, 0 points
17. Corné Lavagna – 6 caps, 0 points
18. Zachary Porthen – 4 caps, 0 points
19. Abulele Ndabambi – 3 caps, 0 points
20. Gcinokuhle Mdletshe – 6 caps, 0 points
21. Imad Khan – 7 caps, 16 points (2 tries, 3 conversions)
22. Litelihle Bester – 1 cap, 0 points
23. Michael Annies – 4 caps, 0 points

England U20:
15 Sam Harris (Bath Rugby)
14 Cassius Cleaves (Harlequins)
13 Joe Jenkins (Bristol Bears)
12 Rekeiti Ma’asi-White??(Sale Sharks)
11 Alex Wills (Sale Sharks)
10 Connor Slevin (Harlequins)
9 Nye Thomas?(Sale Sharks)
1 Asher Opoku-Fordjour?(Sale Sharks)
2 Craig Wright?(Northampton Saints)
3 Afolabi Fasogbon (Gloucester Rugby)
4 Joe Bailey?(Exeter) *
5 Lewis Chessum (C) (Leicester Tigers)
6 Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins)
7 Nathan Michelow (Saracens)
8 Zach Carr?(Harlequins)

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Replacements:
16 Nathan Jibulu?(Harlequins)
17 Ethan Clarke?(Harlequins)
18 James Halliwell (Bristol Bears)
19 Finn Carnduff (Leicester Tigers)
20 Tristan Woodman (Sale Sharks)
21 Charlie Bracken (Saracens)
22 Louie Johnson (Newcastle)
23 Joseph Woodward?(Leicester Tigers)

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