Junior Boks get WC prep underway
NEWS: The Junior Springboks' preparations for the World Under-20 Championship in Georgia gets underway this week, with Curwin Bosch and Zain Davids among 11 returning players to the broader assessment squad.
A total of 86 players have been invited to attend these camps at the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria (Monday and Tuesday) and the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (Wednesday and Thursday), respectively.
Players from the Leopards, Golden Lions and Blue Bulls will attend the first camp while the second camp will be attended by players representing the Free State, Sharks, EP Kings and Western Province.
Utility back Stedman Gans, flyhalf Manie Libbok, scrumhalf Embrose Papier, prop Kwenzo Blose, flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg, loose forward Ernst van Rhyn, locks Cobus Wiese and Ruben de Villiers and prop Carlu Sadie are the other players invited to the camp who participated in last year's U-20 Championship in Manchester.
There are also 12 players who represented the SA Schools squad in the Under-19 International Series in Cape Town last season. SA Schools captain and lock Salmaan Moerat, flyhalf Damian Willemse, centre Manual Rass and fullback Gianni Lombard are among those invited.
These players were nominated by the SA Schools coaches for selection, while the remainder of the squad was nominated by opposition coaches throughout the SA U-19 Championship last season. The selections were confirmed by national selector Peter Jooste.
"This is the first step in assembling a Junior Springbok squad that will enter the World U-20 Championship with high expectations in Georgia later this year.
"Eleven of these players participated in the tournament last year, while several others have come through the SA Schools and SA Schools A teams in the last two seasons, which serves as evidence that our systems are functioning well.
"Some of these players already have an idea of what is expected to reach the top at this level of the game, while their counterparts have been aspiring to reach this level and will be determined to prove their worth at the assessment camps.
"Given the talent on offer, I believe we will be able to put together a top-class squad for the tournament in a few months," SARU CEO Jurie Roux, said.
Acting High Performance manager, Louis Koen - who is a former Springbok flyhalf - will facilitate the assessment camps, which will focus on testing the players' speed, strength and conditioning levels. A Junior Springbok training squad will be named in due course, and is expected to begin their on-field preparations for the tournament early in March.
SARU is currently in the process of appointing a Junior Springbok coach, and an announcement will be made once the process is finalised. The SA Under-20s will face France, hosts Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 31 May, 4 June and 8 June respectively.
Junior Springbok assessment squad:
Blue Bulls: Ciaran Dayaram, Irvin Ali, Stedman Gans, Heino Bezuidenhout, Manie Libbok, Boeta Hamman, Embrose Papier, Richman Gora, Jaco Bezuidenhout, Eduan Lubbe, Ruben van Heerden, Hendre Stassen, Mashao Mukhari, Simphiwe Matanzima, Gerhard Steenekamp, Cabous Eloff, Johan Grobbelaar, Christian Strydom, Kwezi Mafu, Ryno Pieterse, Earll Douwrie, Andell Loubser.
EP Kings: Yaw Penxe, Kamva Dilima, Duan du Plessis.
Free State Cheetahs: Kurt Eybers, Rewan Kruger, Albertus de Bod, Kwenze Blose, Marnus van der Merwe.
Golden Lions: Gianni Lombard, Manuel Rass, Jeanluc Cilliers, Tareeq February, Michael Tambwe, Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane, Wayne van der Bank, Tyrone Green, Louritz Van der Schyff, Eddie Fouche, Bader-Werner Pretorius, Bradley Thain, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, Reinhard Nothnagel, Adre Smith, Ruan Vermaak, Leo Kruger, Nathan McBeth, HP van Schoor, PJ Botha.
Sharks: Curwin Bosch, Ilunga Mukendi, Taigh Schoor, Francois de Villiers, Clifferd Jacobs, Khutu Mchunu, Kwandu Dimaza, Courtney Winnaar, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Mfundo Ndhlovu.
Leopards: Edmund Rheeder.
Western Province: Josh Vermeulen, Ryan Muller, David Brits, Cornel Smit, Juarno Augustus, Ernst van Rhyn, Zain Davids, Kuyenzeka Xaba, Johan Visser, Cobus Wiese, Ruben de Villers, Carlu Sadie, Wikus Groenewald, Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, Damian Willemse, Muller Uys, Salmaan Moerat, Daniel Jooste, Sakoyisa Makata, Abner van Reenen, Tristan Leyds, Nico Leonard, Jondre Williams.