The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed a 34-man squad on Thursday for the SA Under-20 tour to Argentina in April.
The Junior Springboks will play one midweek match and two friendly internationals against Argentinian opposition as part of their preparations for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championships (JWC) which will be held during June in France. South Africa are the current JWC champions.
Squad assembly is on Sunday 7 April in Johannesburg, from where the contingent will travel to Argentina for the tour matches in Corrientes and Buenos Aires from 10 to 23 April 2013. SARU will announce the official SA U20 JWC squad on 26 April.
The majority of the tour selections were involved in previous preparation camps held in Cape Town earlier this year and late 2012. Also included is Johann Meyer (loose forward, The Sharks), a player who was in SA U20 coach Dawie Theron’s plans for last year, but was unable to play in the JWC tournament because of injury.
There is also a first time call up for Eastern Province’s SA Schools star Aidon Davids (loose forward), a current member of the EP Kings Vodacom Cup team and Malcolm Marx (hooker) of the MTN Golden Lions, another member of the very successful 2012 SA Schools team.
The Vodacom Bulls’ JWC winning centre Jan Serfontein and Southern Kings teenage wing Sergeal Petersen were not considered for the tour because of Vodacom Super Rugby commitments. They will however be considered for JWC selection.
Three players who played for the Springbok Sevens in the HSBC Sevens World Series this season, Cheslin Kolbe (DHL Western Province), Seabelo Senatla and Justin Geduld (both contracted to SARU), are amongst the squad of 34 players.
In describing his objectives for the tour, Theron said the overseas visit will be an ideal opportunity to form his players into a close-knit unit.
“I want the players to really get to know each other. Argentina is a very tough place to tour because of the physical nature of their style of play and the passion of their rugby supporters.
“It will also be the ideal environment to test major parts of our game plan. It will be tough, but I have no doubt that it will not only test the character of our guys, but also help to bond them as a unit and to make them understand what it takes to hopefully succeed under such foreign conditions. We will not change much of our approach or the style of play, which I feel have served us well. It will be a case of polishing our efforts and to focus on the execution of our plans,” explained Theron.
He added he was very pleased with South Africa’s overall preparation for the JWC showpiece in France.
“There is not much time left after this tour, but I am very happy with our focus and our preparations so far. I think we are on track and I am looking forward to working with this very promising training group,” said Theron.
The SA U20 training group to tour Argentina (provincial union in brackets):
Andrew Beerwinkel, Andries Swanepoel, Dennis Visser, Irne Herbst, Marvin Orrie, Handrè Pollard, Neethling Fouchè, Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Jade Stighling (Blue Bulls); Aidon Davis (Eastern Province); Luan de Bruin, Jacques du Toit (Free State); Albertus Smith, Kurshwill Williams, Malcolm Marx, Jannie Stander, Harold Vorster, Devon Marthinus (Golden Lions); Hanco Venter, Marne Coetzee, Robert du Preez, Stefan Ungerer, Tyler Fisher, Johann Meyer (Kwazulu-Natal); Sylvian Mahuza, Luther Obi (Leopards); Fred Kirsten, Cheslin Kolbe, JP Lewis, Sti Sithole, Jurie van Vuuren (Western Province); Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla (SARU contracted).