Baby Boks geared for Maties test

Baby Boks coach Dawie Theron expects a different challenge from Maties on Friday compared to the one they received from Ikeys.

Theron was delighted with his team’s performance in their 31-29 win over Ikeys at the Greenmile last week Friday. After holding a 21-12 half-time lead, the hosts fought back to take a 29-24 lead at the death. But a late try from replacement lock Jacques du Plessis and the conversion by flyhalf Tony Jantjies secured a hard-fought win.

‘It was a heavy week for the players ahead of the Ikeys game. Because we only have two weeks as a squad, we wanted to get in as much practice as we could,’ Theron told ‘So because we didn’t train the team as if it was a game week, the guys were a bit fatigued over the weekend. The changes we made the final quarter also cause some disruptions, but we managed to pull through for an impressive result.

‘We ticked all the boxes we wanted to, like ensuring the team plays according to our framework and the players put themselves in their planned positions. We should’ve scored more points though. We failed to capitalise on five linebreaks, and two of them should’ve been converted quite easily. There were also some individual errors on defence, but that can be rectified. There’s nothing wrong with the system we’ve implemented. The team just needs to adjust better.’

The Baby Boks will now face Maties in Stellenbosch on Friday, which will be their final preparation before the players break for Vodacom Cup and Varsity Cup commitments. One change has been made to the SA U20s starting line-up, with 2011 Craven Week Player of the Year Jan Serfontein replacing Patrick Howard at inside centre. Theron said he has approached this week differently and believes Maties will provide a different challenge to the one Ikeys provided.

‘The guys will spend more time off the field this week, compared to the two and a half hours we spent on it everyday since we arrived in Stellenbosch,’ said Theron. ‘The main focus will be on the individual. We want to see how the players’ individual brilliance can strengthen the framework and system we’ve set. That will help us convert more attacking opportunities.

‘Ikeys attacked really well last week and they tested our defence well with their expansive play. But I think Maties will be more direct on Friday. They’ll want to hold onto possession more, which will be a challenge.’

The Baby Boks and Maties match will kick off at 10am.

Baby Boks - 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 JJ de Klerk, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements: Gideon Muller, Marzuq Maarman, Jason Thomas, Franco Marais, Mihlali Mpafi, Ettiene Oosthuizen, Jacques du Plessis, Cobus Nel, Shaun Adendorff, Poerie van Rooyen, KK Hlungwane, Errol Jaggers, Mathys Smit, Patrick Howard, Ruwellyn Isbell.

By Gareth Duncan, in Stellenbosch