South Africa Under-20 coach Eric Sauls on Wednesday confirmed that preparations for the forthcoming IRB Junior World Championship which takes place in Argentina in June are on track.
The SA national selectors on Wednesday announced a 38-man squad that will assemble in Cape Town on Sunday in preparation for their internationals against the Argentina Under-20s. These Tests take place on the 3rd and 6th March 2010.
Golden Lions Under-19 fullback Garth April, centre Jaco Taute (Golden Lions) and lock Kenny Okafor (Sharks) missed the SA Under-20’s recent tour to France due to injury but returns to the Baby Boks squad.
Justin van Staden (Tuks) and Franna du Toit (Shimlas) have also been added to the squad following their consistent performances in the FNB Varsity Cup this season.
Free State Under-18 Craven Week flanker Jean Cook (18) also joins the SA Under-20 set up for the first time. He represented the SA Schools in international friendlies against the England XV and Italian XV, and was a member of the 2009 SA Under-18 High Performance programme.
“We are very close to where we want to be which is to reach those final stages of preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship,” said Sauls.
“So this will be the last opportunity for players to face international opposition before the selectors start to finalise the squad that will travel to Argentina. The selectors will have a close look at how some of the players cope with junior Test rugby.
“We must also not forget that there are Under-20 age group players competing in our other competitions such as the Varsity Cup, the Vodacom Cup which starts this weekend and the Vodacom Super 14. The selectors are also monitoring their progress.
“Hopefully by the end of March, the national selectors will have an idea of the final composition of the squad that will represent South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship.”
The main reasons for these Tests are to expose the SA Under-20s to as many international fixtures as possible prior to the IRB Junior World Championship which kicks off in Argentina on June 5.
SA Under-20 squad: Garth April, Gary van Aswegen, Brümmer Badenhorst, Mlungisi Bali, Clayton Blommetjies, Ruan Combrink, Jean Cook, Sebastian de Chaves, Chris du Randt, Ruan Dreyer, Franna du Toit, Francois du Toit, Divan Ferguson, Andries Ferreira, Monde Hadebe, Adri Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Helmut Lehmann, Peet Marais, Sampie Mastriet, Shaun Malton, Frederick Muller, Lubabalo Mtembu, Kenny Okafor, Rinus Riekert, Jono Ross, Nico Scheepers, Louis Schreuder, Lean Schwartz, Sibusiso Sithole, Ruan Smith, CJ Stander, Jaco Taute, Jamba Ulengo, Marcel van der Merwe, Fanie van der Walt, Justin van Staden, Francois Venter.
by SA Rugby