Stormers duo excused from final Junior Bok camp
NEWS: Stormers duo Damian Willemse and Salmaan Moerat will continue with their Super Rugby commitments next week when the Junior Springbok training squad gathers for a third training camp in Stellenbosch.
The camp forms part of the Junior Springboks' preparations for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux invited 37 players to the camp from Tuesday, March 27, to Friday, March 30, which included Moerat, Willemse and BlitzBok Muller Du Plessis, although they will not attend the camp.
The squad features three new players – Ruan Nortje (lock, Blue Bulls), Zak Burger (scrumhalf, Sharks) and David Kriel (fullback, Western Province).
This is the last of three short camps before the training squad switches into match mode in the lead-up to the U20 Championship which will be hosted in the south of France from May 30 to 17 June, with two home internationals against Georgia and a UK tour, where they will face Scotland, Wales and England.
"We are delighted that Damian, Salmaan and Muller are doing well in Super Rugby and at the BlitzBoks respectively," said Roux.
"They will gain a lot of experience and confidence with those teams, and that is exactly what we would like from a national perspective."
Commenting on the camp, Roux said: "It was always our intention to invite a large squad to the first two training camps, and then reduce the size of the group as our preparation progresses.
"The inclusion of the three new players, however, shows that the door is still open for players to work their way into contention for places in the 28-man squad for the U20 Championship.
"That said, having a smaller group to work with at the next camp will allow us to focus more on individual skills and to get a closer look at the players as the tournament draws closer.”
With the World Rugby U20 Championship kicking off in the south of France in less than 11 weeks, Roux said: "We have five internationals lined up before the tournament, and this means that we will have fewer training sessions, as effective player management will be essential.
"So the next camp will be vital in ensuring that the structures are in place and that the players know what is expected of them on the field."
The Junior Springboks have been drawn in Pool C for the international spectacle, and will face Georgia on Wednesday, May 30, Ireland on Sunday, June 3, and France on Thursday, June 7, in the pool stages.
Players invited to Junior Springbok training camp (March 27-20):
Props: Cabous Eloff (Blue Bulls), Keagan Glade (Golden Lions), Leon Lyons (Western Province), Sazi Sandi (Western Province), Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province), Tiaan van der Merwe (Golden Lions).
Hookers: PJ Botha (Golden Lions), Schalk Erasmus (Western Province), Daniel Jooste (Western Province), Fezokuhle Mbatha (Sharks).
Locks: Ben-Jason Dixon (Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (Western Province), Ruan Nortje (Blue Bulls), PJ Steenkamp (Golden Lions), Ruan Vermaak (Golden Lions).
Loose forwards: Phendulani Buthelezi (Sharks), Francke Horn (Western Province), Shaine Orderson (Western Province), Ryno Pieterse (Blue Bulls), JC Pretorius ( Blue Bulls), Muller Uys (Western Province).
Scrumhalves: Richman Gora (Blue Bulls), Jack Hart (Golden Lions), Rewan Kruger (Free State), Zak Burger (Sharks).
Flyhalves: David Coetzer (Western Province), Johannes Steenkamp (Leopards), Damian Willemse (Western Province).
Centres: Lyle Hendricks (Western Province), Rikus Pretorius (Western Province), Manuel Rass (Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions).
Outside backs: Muller du Plessis (Sharks), Tyrone Green (Golden Lions), David Kriel (Western Province), Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions), Sakoyisa Makata (Western Province).