The main curtainraiser to the Tri-Nations Test between South Africa and Australia in Durban on Saturday is between the South African Academy team and France Under-19.
The SA Academy team is chosen from players who were at the Academy week, i.e. players who were next best to those who went to Craven Week where South Africa has 18 teams of 22 players each and from whom the SA Schools side is chosen. In the past the Academy side played the Schools side and caused embarrassment. Their reward for success has been to stop them playing SA Schools.
Last year the SA Schools team played against a Namibian team at an underpopulated Raiders RFC and won 92-21. This year they will play France as a curtainraiser to the Port Elizabeth Test. That was the lot of SA Schools, who were then largely absorbed into an SA Under-18 group that played a four-nations tournament with France, England and Namibia. France beat Namibia but lost to England and South Africa.
This year France have brought an Under-19 team. Ten of them came with the French side last year.
Local interest will, of course, focus on the Academy side. The centre pairing of Edwin Sass and Johnny Kotze could well be of especial interest.
SA Academy Under-18: 15 Lorenzo Baaitjies (Eastern Province), 14 Gideon Meiring (Golden Lions), 13 Edwin Sass (Western Province), 12 Johnny Kotze (Western Province), 11 surprise Mayekiso (Golden Lions), 10 Dalton Kannemeyer (Western Province), 9 Cyprial Mkhabela (KwaZulu Natal), 8 Niklaas Rossouw (Boland), 7 Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions), 6 Willie Newman (Golden Lions), 5 Armand du Preez (Eastern Province), 4 Stefan Vermeulen (Golden Lions), 3 Bart le Roux (Eastern Province), 2 Chadley Wenn (Boland), 1 Matthew Jones (KwaZulu Natal)
Replacements: 16 Hewson Petersen (Western Province), 17 Siwa Mandlakhe (Eastern Province), 18 Luan de Bruin (Blue Bulls), 19 Tienie Burger (Free State), 20 Balunga Mbangi (Eastern Province), 21 Damian Engledoe (Boland), 22 Linden Rhode (South Western Districts)
Coaches: Bart Schoeman (Blue Bulls), Assistant coach: Joseph Jafta (Griquas)
France Under-19: 15 Hugo Veyssiere (Brive), 14 Gabriel Lacroix (Albi), 13 Thibaut Regard (Lyon), 12 Gael Fickou (Toulon), 11 Teddy Thomas (Biarritz), 10 Enzo Selponi (Montpellier), 9 Yohan Domenech (Narbonne), 8 Clément Ancely (Bayonne), 7 Louis Durbesson (Montpellier), 6 Alban Placines (Biarritz), 5 Johan Alliouat (Montpellier), 4 Paul Jedrasiak (Clermont Auvergne), 3 Pascal Cottet (Perpignan), 2 Christopher-Eric Tolofua (Toulouse), 1 Jean-Baptiste Custoja (Perpignan).
Replacements: 16 Cyril Baille (Toulouse), 17 Romain Hollet (Perpignan), 18 Khatchik Vartanov (Racing-Métro 92), 19 Steevy Cerqueira (Massy), 20 Arnaud Smets (Grenoble), 21 Clément Vernezoul (Toulouse), 22Anderson Neisen (Brive), 23 Baptiste Perrot (Montauban), 24 Quentin Pillet (Stade Rochelais)
Coaches: Gérald Bastide, Philippe Agostini
Date: Saturday, 13 August 2011
Venue: MR PRICE Kings Park, Durban
Expected weather conditions: 40% chance of rain with a high of 20°C, dropping to 13°C.
Referee: Pieter Janse van Vuuren
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Eugenia Daniels-Africa
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman
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