The continued growth of their squads as a unit and the improvement of individual performances are high on the agenda for the SA Schools and SA Schools A coaches this weekend, when the final matches of the SA Rugby Under-18 International Series take place at Hugenote High School in Wellington on Saturday.
The undefeated SA Schools team will face England, while the SA Schools A team will front up to Argentina. Wales and France play in the other match of the highly-rated series.
The SA Schools side have scored impressive wins over Wales and Argentina so far, but for their coach, Mzwakhe Nkosi, the result against England is not the beginning and end of it.
“We all play to win of course, but this series is also important for us to develop our squad in playing experience and to test the players,” said Nkosi.
“They have shown good improvement from the first game to the second and if they continue that into our match against England, the management will be pleased. Our attack, for example, was not great against Wales, but then improved nicely against Argentina. We have grown as a squad and the time spend together was beneficial to all of us, so I hope that will be reflecting in our performances tomorrow.”
Nkosi made a couple of changes to the run-on squad from their match in Paarl, with the most notable the inclusion of Boldwin Hansen on the wing. The replacement-flyhalf showed his versatility around the park against Argentina.
Siyemukela Ndlovu (flanker) was also ruled out of the final match due to injury and Nkosi recalled Keketso Morabe to the starting team again. The Welkom Gymnasium flanker started against Wales last Friday as well.
In a rotational shift, regular captain, Jacques Goosen, will start from the bench, with Andre-Hugo Venter in the run-on team. The remaining leadership group of George Cronje (captain) and Tyler Bocks (vice-captain) will lead the side.
The SA Schools team to play England: 15. Zeilinga Strydom (Assupol Blue Bulls / Garsfontein), 14. Boldwin Hansen (Boland / Hermanus), 13. Henco van Wyk (Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions / Monument), 12. Tyler Bocks (DHL Western Province / Paarl Boys High), 11. Tharquinn Manuel (DHL Western Province / Stellenberg), 10. Kian Meadon (DHL Western Province / Paarl Boys High), 9. Dylan Alexander (DHL Western Province / Paarl Gymnasium), 8. George Cronje (Captain, Bizhub Free State Cheetahs / Grey College), 7. Jarrod Taylor (Border / Selborne College), 6. Keketso Morabe (Thepa Trading Griffons / Welkom Gymnasium), 5. Dylan de Leeuw (DHL Western Province / Paul Roos Gymnasium), 4. Simon Miller (Assupol Blue Bulls / St Albans), 3. Sibusiso Shongwe (Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions / Jeppe), 2. Andre-Hugo Venter (Bizhub Free State Cheetahs / Grey College), 1. Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Bizhub Free State Cheetahs / Grey College). Replacements: 16. Jacques Goosen (Border / Selborne College), 17. Okuhle Siyeni (Cell C Sharks / Westville Boys High), 18. Blaine Golden (Cell C Sharks / Glenwood), 19. Wandile Hlope (Cell C Sharks / Maritzburg College), 20. Mntungwa Mapantsela (Border / Selborne College), 21. Keane Galant (Boland / HTS Drostdy), 23. Jurich Claasens (Assupol Blue Bulls / Garsfontein), 24. Quan Horn (Western Province / Paarl Boys High), 25. Gideon van Wyk (DHL Western Province / Paarl Boys High), 26. Connor Evans (DHL Western Province / Bishops).