CONFIRMED: Junior Boks reveal their captain for U20 Champs
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: The Junior Springboks head coach Chean Roux has handed the captain's armband to natural 'born leader' Stormers lock Salmaan Moerat.
The side will partake in the World Rugby U20 Championship from May 30 to June 17 in the south of France.
Moerat, who established himself as a fine captain for the SA Schools team in 2016, will have the support of Damian Willemse, Wandisile Simelane, Muller Uys, Gianni Lombard, Rewan Kruger and Daniel Jooste, all of whom were members of the 2016 SA Under-20 squad that won the bronze medal in Georgia last year.
Adding to this experience, Willemse has been the Stormers’ preferred flyhalf this season, while Moerat also made his Super Rugby debut, and utility back Muller du Plessis represented the Springbok Sevens team in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
In total, 22 of the players in Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux’s 28-man squad also have junior international experience having represented the SA Schools or SA Schools A teams in the Under-18 International Series, while every player with the exception of lock Ruan Vermaak – who is recovering from a knee injury – featured in the warm-up matches against Georgia.
"This is a talented squad with solid international experience, and we are confident in their abilities," said Roux.
"We had to make a few tough calls, especially after the matches against Georgia, but we believe we have a squad worthy of competing against the best U20 teams in the world.
"One can never underestimate the value of playing international rugby at any level, so we are pleased that most of the players have worn the green and gold before for both the Junior Springboks and the SA Schools sides,"
Roux spoke highly of Moerat and said: "Salmaan is a born leader. He led the Western Province U18Craven Week team and the SA Schools team, and he did so with distinction.
"He has been equally influential at our training camps since the squad gathered in February, and all of the players have immense respect for him, so he was the natural choice as the captain,"
The Junior Springboks will continue their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship with a three-match tour to the UK, following their 48-23 and 55-14 victories against Georgia, who they will face in their opening pool match at the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The SA U20s will meet Scotland in Edinburgh on Friday, May 4, Wales in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 8, and England in London on Friday, May 11 on tour.
They depart for the UK on Monday.
The team has been drawn in Pool C at the World Rugby U20 Championship, which runs from May 30 to June 17.
They will meet Georgia in their opening pool match on Wednesday, May 30, and then take on Ireland on Sunday, June 3, and France on Thursday, June 7 in the pool stages.
Junior Springbok squad: Zak Burger (Sharks), Ben-Jason Dixon (Western Province), Lubabalo Dobela (Free State), Muller du Plessis (Sharks), Schalk Erasmus (Western Province), Tyrone Green (Golden Lions), Jack Hart (Golden Lions), Lyle Hendricks (Western Province), Daniel Jooste (Western Province), Cohen Kiewit (Golden Lions), Rewan Kruger (Free State, Gianni Lombard (Golden Lions), Nathan McBeth (Golden Lions), Salmaan Moerat (Western Province), Sihle Njezula (Western Province), Ruan Nortje (Blue Bulls), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Golden Lions), Rikus Pretorius (Western Province), Manuel Rass (Golden Lions), Sazi Sandi (Western Province), Dian Schoonees (Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions), PJ Steenkamp (Golden Lions), Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province), Muller Uys (Western Province), Tiaan van der Merwe (Golden Lions), Ruan Vermaak (Golden Lions), Damian Willemse (Western Province)