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Junior Boks suffer big blow ahead of World Rugby U20 champs

NEWS: Stormers utility back Suleiman Hartzenberg has been ruled out of the SA Rugby Academy squad due to injury.


The 19-year-old sustained a knee injury in Western Province’s Currie Cup clash against the Pumas on April 21.

The injury will see him miss SA Rugby Academy’s two friendly matches in Johannesburg and Durban next week as well as the World Rugby Under-20 Championship which South Africa is hosting in June.

The travelling group of players and management leave Cape Town for Johannesburg on Thursday, and they will face the Lions on the same day. The squad then travel to KwaZulu-Natal, where they will go into a short training camp before facing the Sharks (May 17).

Following the tour, the tight five will have a short camp while the rest of the players head home for a short break. The squad will reconvene at their base at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport on Sunday, May 21.

“We had our first proper match last week against the Kenyan side and the next step would be to lift our intensity in terms of actually playing and executing in match situations,” said Junior Springbok head coach Bafana Nhleko.

“We’ve been together for just under a month and I can only praise the players’ attitude and work ethic, but also management members.


“Our first training block was about assessment and fundamentals. Next, we need to progress to playing actual matches and that is why this mini-tour will be very important. We’d like to thank all the teams that will be hosting us.

“Both the Lions and Sharks will field senior teams and they will properly test our systems. It’s important for us to understand where we are and to see how the boys respond to the challenge. We are also trying to replicate a similar timeline of what we can expect during the World Rugby U20 Championship.”

Meanwhile, the Western Province duo of Damian Markus (outside back) and Hennie Sieberhagen (lock) have joined the squad.

Bruce Sherwood and Grant de Jager (both WP), Katlego Lebokeng (Cheetahs), Neels Volschenk (Bulls) and Sibabalwe Mahashe (Lions) were released to their provinces. However, they may be called upon to rejoin the programme at a later stage.


The Junior Springboks will play in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in June and July when South Africa plays host to this tournament, with matches scheduled for Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington in the Western Cape.

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