Baby Boks ready for title defence

Thu, 30 May 2013 15:22
Large handrepollardcapping Large ruansteenkampcapping Large dawie theron media

A well-prepared South Africa Under-20 team leave for France on Thursday where they will defend their Junior World Championship title.

A well-prepared South Africa Under-20 team leave for France on Thursday where they will defend their Junior World Championship title.

The team held their capping ceremony on Wednesday evening at the Paul Roos Markötter Clubhouse in Stellenbosch and the special occasion was attended by parents, SARU Executives, team sponsor representatives and other key stakeholders.

South Africa Under-20 coach Dawie Theron, who led Junior Springboks to their first JWC title last season, said the squad departs for France with a fair degree of confidence, although they have only one survivor of last year’s memorable campaign.

“This is a new squad so we are going there to challenge the other teams and to win the tournament,” said Theron. “It is a very tough event because you must negotiate an extremely tough pool stage before the play-offs.

“I am happy with our preparations and the mood in the camp is very good. The players are all excited and looking forward to what will no doubt be an extremely tough tournament,” said Theron.

JWC-winning flyhalf Handré Pollard is the sole survivor of the Class of 2012. The team lost exciting Southern Kings wing Sergeal Petersen because of a hamstring injury, but in Jesse Kriel (fullback/wing) and Rohan Janse van Rensburg (centre) they have two able replacements.

Kriel and Janse van Rensburg are two strong running backs who played in the same South African Schools team last year which also featured Petersen, Pollard and Aidon Davis (No 8). Blue Bulls flank Ruan Steenkamp will captain the squad.

The Junior Springboks kick-off their campaign on June 5 against the USA at 20.45, and this will be followed by two more tough pools matches against England (June, 9, 16h45) and home team France (June, 13, 20.45).

SA JWC pool match schedule (all in La Roch Sur Yon):
June 5 at 20.45: SA U20 v United States
June 9 at 16.45: SA U20 v England
June 13 at 20.45: SA U20 v France
June 18: Play-off matches (TBC)
June 23: Play-off matches (TBC)

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UNDER-20 WORLD CUP
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Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland U20 3 3 0 0 13
New Zealand U20 3 2 0 1 10
Wales U20 3 1 0 2 7
Georgia U20 3 0 0 3 1
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
England U20 3 3 0 0 14
Scotland U20 3 2 0 1 9
Australia U20 3 1 0 2 7
Italy U20 3 0 0 3 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
Argentina U20 3 3 0 0 13
South Africa U20 3 2 0 1 11
France U20 3 1 0 2 6
Japan U20 3 0 0 3 0