Fortunate to include a number of players who played last year in France
SARU have announced a group of 76 players along with a comprehensive preparation plan for the IRB Junior World Championship tournament to be hosted in Auckland in June.
The main pillars of this plan are three training camps in Stellenbosch, which will see the Junior Springbok hopefuls play a series of trial matches, and participate in three friendly internationals against Argentina Under-20.
To kick-start the preparation schedule of the training group, SA Under-20 head coach, Dawie Theron, members of his management team, the SARU Mobi Unit and the SARU Development department will soon meet with the selected players in Johannesburg and Stellenbosch respectively.
Players from the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Leopards, Free State, EP Kings and the Sharks will assemble in Johannesburg on February 20 for a one-day information session, while a similar get together is planned for the Western Province-based players on February 27 in Stellenbosch.
Theron will conduct three training camps before the announcement of the official SA U20 squad in April. The first training camp will run from 31 March to 16 April and a series of trial matches will also be held during this period.
A smaller group will then gather from 27 April to 17 May, again in Stellenbosch, for a second camp and the three internationals against the Argentina U20s.
The matches against Argentina are scheduled for May 9 at City Park Stadium, Cape Town, on May 13 at the Paul Roos Gymnasium Stellenbosch and May 17 at the Saldanha Rugby Club on the Cape West Coast.
The final holding camp takes place from 23 to 26 May and the squad departs Cape Town for New Zealand on May 26 to participate in the JWC tournament from June 2 to 20 June.
Commenting on the preparation plans Junior Springboks head coach Theron said they hope the structure of the camps and the large training group would allow them to cast the net as wide as possible.
"We have a different approach this year in terms of identifying the players and also our training group preparations. We have already visited the provinces and communicated our preparation and conditioning plans to them, and we will continue to keep them informed.
"Our conditioning coach especially, together with the SARU Mobi Unit and Development department are working very closely with the provinces to ensure the players follow a comprehensive training programme so that they’re in good physical condition when they arrive at our training camps," explained Theron.
The Junior Springbok coach added he is pleased with quality of players identified for the large training group:
"There are a lot of talented players in the group and it certainly helps us that some of these players, such as Malcolm Marx (Lions), André Esterhuizen, Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard (Blue Bulls) and Ryno Eksteen (Stormers) have played in Super Rugby warm-up matches for their franchises," said Theron.
He added: "We are also fortunate to include a number of players who played last year in France, such as Pollard, Kriel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg (all Bulls) and Aidon Davis (EP Kings). Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings) is also available after he missed the JWC last year because of injury."
SA U20 training group: Handré Pollard, Jesse Kriel, Duhan van der Merwe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Dan Kriel, Keagon Gordan, Kobus Marais, Warrick Gelant, Ganfred May, Marcus Kleinbooi, Duncan Mathews, JP Smith, Corniel Els, Wilco Louw, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Pierre Schoeman, Abongile Nonkontwana, Janse van Rensburg, RG Snyman, Heinrich Viljoen, Justin Basson, Malcom Marx, Michael Hazner, Ramone Samuels, Jaco Van der Walt, Jano Venter, Thabo Mabuza, Vincent Maropeng, Victor Sisekete, JP du Preez, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Vermeulen, Cyle Brink, Dylan Smith, Jaco Botha, Kock Marx, Dean Stokes, Lloyd Greef, Ox Noche, Joseph Dweba, Mthokozisi Mkhabela, Nicolaas Lee, Marthinus Oosthuizen, Jandré Slabbert; EP Kings: Aidon Davis, Sergeal Petersen, Kevin Kaba, Alrin Eksteen, Andre Esterhuizen, Thomas du Toit, Gideon Koegelenberg, Chris de Beer, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Neil Maritz, Sandile Khubeka, Cameron Wright, Ayron Schramm, Ray Williams, Sias Koen, Ryno Eksteen, JD Schickerling, Jacques Vermeulen, Rikus Bothma, Daniel du Plessis, Jarryd Sage, SP Ferreira, Justin Philips, Dewald Naudé, Grant Hermanus, Chad Solomon, Wesley Adonis, Frans van Wyk.
SA U20 preparation activities are:
31 March - 16 April
Stellenbosch Academy of Sport
23 April - 17 May
Stellenbosch and Cape Town
SA U20 international friendlies vs Argentina U20:
9 May: SA vs Argentina (City Park Stadium, Cape Town)
13 May: SA vs Argentina (Paul Roos, Stellenbosch)
17 May: SA vs Argentina (Saldanha Rugby Club, Saldanha)
Camp Three: Holding camp
23 - 26 May - Stellenbosch Academy of Sport
25 May - Stellenbosch Academy of Sport
26 May - Cape Town International Airport
SA U20 2014 JWC fixtures:
2 June: SA vs Scotland (North Harbor)
6 June: SA vs New Zealand (North Harbor)
10 June: SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)
15 June: Playoffs (Tbc)
20 June: Finals (Auckland)