Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Cape Town — The Junior Springboks suffered a huge blow to their Under-20 World Championship campaign when influential No8 Francke Horn was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Horn gave a strong display during Tuesday’s 43-19 win over Scotland in their opening match in Rosario but left the field midway through the second half.

Janko Swanepoel‚ a lock from the Bulls‚ has been called up as a replacement.

Horn‚ who scored SA’s first try against Scotland at the Racecourse Stadium on Tuesday‚ went for scans on his shoulder on Wednesday and the results confirmed he had to return home.

It is the second time in two years the Junior Boks have lost their key player after one match. In 2018 star flyhalf Damian Willemse was ruled out of the tournament following their opening match.

Swanepoel is expected to slot in with ease when he joins the team in Argentina on Friday‚ as he trained with the squad until one week before their departure for the international showpiece.

“I feel for Francke‚ especially after all the hard work he put in during the last few months to be at the championship. He is a great player with fantastic character and leadership qualities‚” said coach Chean Roux.

“But injuries are part of the game‚ and we have a big task ahead‚ so it is great to be able to call on Janko‚ who played in our warm-up games and trained with us until shortly before we wrapped up our preparations at home.

“He was unlucky not to make the final squad of 28‚ and despite this‚ he continued to give his best at every training session before we left for Argentina.

“So I have no doubt that he will hit the ground running when he arrives and give everything at the tournament.”

Of the decision to replace Horn‚ who played at No8 against Scotland‚ with a lock‚ Roux said: “We have sufficient cover at looseforward in the squad‚ and given the intense physical demands of this tournament with five matches in three weeks‚ it is important that we cover all our bases.

“Effective player management will be vital to work our way into a position to get into the final and give ourselves the best possible chance to win the competition.”

The Junior Springboks had a recovery day on Wednesday‚ while they also reviewed the Scotland match. They returned to the training field on Thursday, when the focus will be on Saturday’s clash against Georgia.