Eastern Province and Grey High School Under-20 Springbok No 8 Junior Pokomela will lead the SA U20 team in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship bronze playoff against Argentina at the AJ Bell Stadium in Manchester on Saturday in the absence of regular skipper Jeremy Ward – another product of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Province and Grey High School, as coach Dawie Theron made six changes to his team.
Ward is serving a two-week suspension for a dangerous tackle, which prompted Theron to hand the captaincy to Pokomela. Centre JT Jackson, who is playing in his second successive World Rugby U20 Championship, has been named the vice-captain, as the team’s second vice-captain Ernst van Rhyn was not named in the match-day squad.
Saturday’s match will bring down the curtain on Theron’s six-year reign as Junior Springbok coach. He will join the Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan next month.
The changes to the team will see the front row of hooker Jan-Henning Campher and props Franco van den Berg and Carlü Sadie start in place of Tango Balekile, Nicolaas Oosthuizen and Jaco Holtzhausen respectively, while flanker Cobus Wiese takes over from Van Rhyn in the loose trio.
In the backline, Franco Naude comes in at outside centre, while Stedman Gans will make his first appearance in the competition on the right wing in place of Mosolwa Mafuma.
Leopards flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg, who joined the team on Thursday as