The Ireland Under-20s are hoping to upset the odds when they take on tournament hosts South Africa in their opening match of the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship. There are a few survivors from last year’s Championship in Italy where the Junior Springboks beat Ireland twice – 42-26 in the pool stages and 57-15 in the play-offs.
2012 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: POOL B: Monday, June 4
SOUTH AFRICA U-20s v IRELAND U-20s, Danie Craven Stadium, 6.45pm local time/5.45pm Irish time (live TG4/Sky Sports 2)
Team News: The Ireland Under-20 team, sponsored by PwC, has been named for the opening game of the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.
Hooker Niall Scannell will captain the side for the opening game against host country South Africa. JJ Hanrahan has been named at out-half and will act as vice captain.
Hanrahan is one of five players in the matchday squad who featured in the 2011 Junior World Championship. His half-back partner Kieran Marmion also played in the tournament.
Prop Tadhg Furlong and second row Iain Henderson are the two forwards with previous experience in the tournament, while replacement Aaron Conneely also featured last year in Italy.
Shane Layden and Paddy Jackson, who were named in the original squad, have been replaced by Conor Finn and Jack Carty with the latter included on the bench for the Pool B opener.
Monday evening’s clash in Stellenbosch will be shown live on TG4 and Sky Sports 2.
Meanwhile, Junior Springboks captain Wiaan Liebenberg will lead a team with both Junior World Championship and Super Rugby experience when they take on Ireland in their opening Pool B match.
Outside backs Paul Jordaan and Tshotsho Mbovane played in the 2011 tournament in Italy, while Jordaan (Sharks), locks Pieter Steph du Toit (Sharks), Ruan Botha and Paul Willemse (both Golden Lions) and prop Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) have all played Super Rugby in 2012.
Liebenberg, who captained South Africa in warm-up games against Argentina earlier this year, said that the players were ready to go.
“We’ve worked very hard to get to this point and now it’s time to deliver. Everyone is keen and ready to go and looking forward to the opportunity and privilege of representing our country against the best age group players in the world,” he said.
SOUTH AFRICA U-20: Dillyn Leyds (Western Province); Paul Jordaan (KZN), Pat Howard (Western Province), Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls), Raymond Rhule (Free State); Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls), Abrie Griesel (Blue Bulls); Steven Kitshoff (Western Province), Mark Pretorius (Goldern Lions), Allan Dell (KZN), Paul Willemse (Goldern Lions), Pieter Steph du Toit (KZN), Shaun Adendorff (Blue Bulls), Wiaan Liebenberg (Blue Bulls) (capt), Fabian Booysen (Golden Lions).
Replacements: Jason Thomas (Blue Bulls), Oliver Kebble (Western Province), Ruan Botha (Golden Lions), Braam Steyn (KZN), Vian van der Watt (Golden Lions), Handrè Pollard (Western Province), Tshotsho Mbovane (Western Province), Maks van Dyk (KZN).
IRELAND U-20: Peter Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster); Barry Daly (UCD/Leinster), Chris Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Sam Coghlan Murray (UCD/Leinster); JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht); Des Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) (capt), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), Jordan Coghlan (UCD/Leinster), Conor Gilsenan (UCD/Mullingar/Leinster), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
Replacements: James Rael (Garryowen/Munster), Peter Reilly (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jake Cawley (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alan O’Connor (UCD/Leinster), Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster), Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht), Mikey Sherlock (Clontarf/Leinster).
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Television Match Official: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): South Africa U-20s to win: 1/25; Draw: 50/1; Ireland U-20s to win: 9/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Mike Ruddock (Ireland U-20s) – “The Junior World Championship is very intense, it’s really up there. The four-day turnarounds in the pool make it quite tough.
“It’s a real tactical battle to get your troops out and rotate your squad, and to try and get management of players with injuries and little bumps and bruises.
“It’s a tough pool for us, probably the most physical of them. Our minds are just occupied at the moment with trying to combat a big, powerful South African team who want to try and win on their home soil.
“The boys are up for it. We’re a confident bunch, we’ve been to places like France this season and won. We won four out of five matches in the Six Nations. It’s a good team and it believes it can go out and get stuck into South Africa.
“We know the physicality is going to be right up there and our skills have to be right up there. We’re going out there to try and create a shock and that will be our goal. We’ll have to be at our best to beat South Africa as they’re a fine side.”
Dawie Theron (South Africa U-20s) – “We have put a lot of focus on our first game against Ireland and I’m happy to say that we were able to pick a team with this match in mind. We have a good mix of experience and skill and everyone is keen and ready to go.
“It is great to have players with experience of Super Rugby available, but the challenge will be for those players to contribute to the Junior Springboks in a constructive way.
“We realise there will be added pressure because we’re playing at home, but we see that as positive pressure. We have a huge opportunity to play in front of familiar crowds and in familiar conditions and we need to make the most of it.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2011: IRB Junior World Championship – Pool C: Ireland U-20s 26 South Africa U-20s 42, Stadio di Monigo, Treviso; 5th-8th Place Play-Off: South Africa U-20s 57 Ireland U-20s 15, Stadio Plebiscito, Padova