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Law trials to be rolled out at U20 Championship


Seven closed law trials will be in effect at the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia which kicks off on Wednesday, 31 May in Tbilisi and Kutaisi.

The trials will run alongside five (open) global law trials that came into effect on 1 January, 2017 in the Southern Hemisphere and will come into effect in the northern hemisphere from 1 August, 2017. The closed trials, which are focused around the scrum and breakdown, will also be in effect at the Nations Cup and the U20 Trophy in Uruguay.

The seven law trials are:

  • No signal from referee prior to put-in at scrum
  • Scrum-half must throw the ball in straight but can align left shoulder with the middle of the tunnel
  • Allowing the number eight to pick from the feet of the second row
  • Compulsory striking by the hooker after throw-in to scrum
  • Tackle only and offside line creation (Tackler, tackled player and at least one player on their feet and over the ball creates the offside line)
  • A player cannot kick the ball out of the ruck – can only hook it back
  • Tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from his side of the tackle gate

Speaking as the U20 Championship gets set for kick-off, World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Alain Rolland said: “These closed law trials were successfully implemented at the Americas Rugby Championship and the Pacific Challenge this year with some positive results, so we’re eager to see how they feature at the U20 Championship over the coming weeks.

“Around the scrum, we want to see more ball-out, less penalties, a decrease in the amount of reset and collapsed scrums. We’re hoping to see a positive approach from teams and coaches and the aim is to see more ball in play.”

Feedback and statistics will be reviewed by World Rugby at the completion of the tournaments.

Meanwhile the global law trials, which were introduced in January, focused on front-row replacements (for uncontested scrums), advantage, touch, penalty tries and time-keeping. Click here to read more. The British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Pacific Nations Cup will also be played under these global law trials.

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Six capped Junior Boks to start against France


Six of the eight players in the Junior Springbok squad that featured in the 2016 edition of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester will play in coach Chean Roux’s team’s tournament opener against France in Georgia on Wednesday.

Flyhalf Curwin Bosch, flankers Ernst van Rhyn – the team captain – and Zain Davids, fullback Manie Libbok, centre Stedman Gans and prop Carlu Sadie were all named in the starting line-up for Wednesday’s clash at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi. Another experienced SA U20 player, prop Kwenzo Blose, will start on the bench.

Bosch will link up with scrumhalf Rewan Kruger in the halfback pairing, while Van Rhyn and Davids will join forces with Juarno Augustus in the loose trio.

The lock combination of 2016 SA Schools captain Salmaan Moerat and Ruben van Heerden, and the front row of Sadie, fellow prop Gerhard Steenekamp and hooker Johan Grobbelaar will complete the pack.

In the backline, Gans and David Brits will occupy the midfield, with Yaw Penxe and Wandisile Simelane at wing.

“The experience the players will bring from last year will certainly be beneficial against France,” said Roux.

“They know what it is like to play for their country in front of a crowd and to sing the national anthem, and hopefully that experience will filter down to the other players making their debuts.

“We had a good idea about the team we wanted to select for this match since our holding camp in Cape Town, so it wasn’t that tough to select the starting side. But that said we have 28 very good players in the squad and any of them can play at any time.”

The coach expected a tough challenge against France, who finished in second position in the U20 Six Nations earlier this year, but he was confident in his team’s abilities.

“France are a physical side and they do not like to kick the ball much, so they will want to bring that French flair into their game. That means our defence has to be up to scratch and we need to put a lot of pressure on them,” said Roux.

The match against France will kick off at 13h30 SA time and we will broadcast live on SuperSport 1 (channel 201). The SA U20’s will meet hosts, Georgia, in their second pool match on Sunday, and will round off the pool stages against Argentina on Wednesday, 8 June.

Junior Springbok team to face France in the World Rugby U20 Championship:

15 – Manie Libbok (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
14 – Yaw Penxe (EP Kings)
13 – Stedman Gans (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
12 – David Brits (DHL Western Province)
11 – Wandisile Simelane (Xerox Golden Lions)
10 – Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks)
9 – Rewan Kruger (Toyota Free State)
8 – Juarno Augustus (DHL Western Province)
7 – Ernst van Rhyn (captain – DHL Western Province)
6 – Zain Davids (DHL Western Province)
5 – Ruben van Heerden (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4 – Salmaan Moerat (DHL Western Province)
3 – Carlu Sadie (DHL Western Province)
2 – Johan Grobbelaar (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
1 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
16 – Kwenzo Blose (Toyota Free State)
17 – Daniel Jooste (DHL Western Province)
18 – Lee-Marvin Mazibuko (DHL Western Province)
19 – Hendre Stassen (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
20 – Nama Xaba (DHL Western Province)
21 – Francois de Villiers (Cell C Sharks)
22 – Damian Willemse (DHL Western Province)
23 – Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions)

Huge expectations for Junior Springboks in Georgia


The Junior Springboks will soon be off to the Junior World Championship in Georgia and with them lies the hope that this year the team will be able to come back with the title.

The team has a new coach in Chean Roux  and he has also picked Ernst van Rhyn from Western Province to lead the team at the Championship. Van Rhyn was the vice captain last year and have a great ability to lead players.

The team is boosted by several players from last years squad that ended forth in the tournament with players like Van Rhyn, Curwin Bosch, Kwenzo Blose, Carlu Sadie, Zain Davids, Stedman Gans, Manie Libbok and Embrose Papier.

Roux also picked Salmaan Moerat, who captained the team, Gianni Lombard, Rewan Kruger, Wandisile Simelane, Damian Willemse and Daniel Jooste who was in the SA U19 side last year.

The squad have also players that boost Super Rugby and Sevens experience which all add to allot of believe in this team of youngsters to come out champions at the end.

The Junior Springboks depart for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Tbilisi on 25 May where they will face France, Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the competition. Unlike other tournaments, the U20 Championships have been high quality and not much to choose between the different nations.

England, Ireland and New Zealand have been the standouts over the past few years but the biggest thread seems to be from the New Zealanders again this year.

We are pleased with the quality of the players in our squad and we believe the team has the potential to go all the way in the competition,” Roux told Sport24

We had to make a number of tough calls to narrow down the group to 28 players, but we are confident that we have selected a squad worthy of competing against the best teams in the world in Georgia.  A number of the players have experienced international age-group rugby either in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship or the Under-19 International Series, while others have been exposed to International Sevens and Vodacom Super Rugby, which will be invaluable in Georgia.”

Commenting on the selection of the captain, Roux spoke highly of Van Rhyn.

“Ernst is a hard worker on the field and has proved his worth as a leader in the last few seasons at the SA Schools team and the SA Under-20s last year,” the coach said. “A captain has to lead by example and ensure that there is cohesion in the team at all times, and these qualities will be vital in guiding us through the competition.”

Looking at the tournament in Georgia, Roux expected his team to be tested thoroughly, but he was pleased with their preparation up to now.

We face France, Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages, so we have to be in top form from the outset to stay in a strong position to stake a claim for the trophy,” said Roux.

That said we have been working very hard at training in the last two months to prepare both physically and mentally for what we can expect in Tbilisi and we hope that this will pay off. The important thing now will be to maintain the high intensity of our training sessions and to keep sharp before we depart for Georgia.”

Junior Boks score seven tries against Varsity Cup Dream Team


Despite a number of lessons learnt, Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was satisfied with his team’s 50-19 victory in a high-paced warm-up match against the Varsity Cup Dream Team at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Tuesday evening.

The SA U20s outscored the Varsity Cup side by seven tries to three in an exciting match, which was evenly poised at 21-19 at the break.

“It was a great test for us and it was good to play against players who have played a number of games this season,” said Roux.

“Our warm-up matches during the second training camp were against teams that didn’t play many games before, so this was an excellent test for our players.”

Commenting on the lessons learnt in the match against the Varsity Cup Dream Team, Roux said: “In our lineouts there were one or two technicalities that we got wrong, which we will work on in the next couple of weeks.

“I think the work rate of our forwards and our scrummaging were good and we played our rugby in the right areas of the field, which was another positive.”

The Junior Boks struck first in the fourth minute with lock Ruben van Heerden crashing over the tryline following a solid showing by the forwards, which fullback Gianni Lombard converted to take a 7-0 lead.

The Varsity Cup Dream Team fought back strongly with winger Duncan Saal using his pace to work his way through the defence and score their first try, which flyhalf Tinus de Beer converted to level the scores.

The Dream Team built on this with a try by captain Craig Barry in the 22nd minute, and added another four minutes later compliments of lock Loftus Morrison after Junior Boks were reduced to 14 men as prop Carlu Sadie received a yellow card for infringing at a breakdown. This pushed the Varsity Cup Dream Team 19-7 ahead.

This lead, however, was short-lived as an encouraging display by the Junior Bok forwards paved the way for Salmaan Moerat and Van Heerden to touch down, which handed the team a narrow 21-19 lead going into the break.

They built on this immediately after the break with flanker Muller Uys crossing in the corner after a scrum, while Lombard added a penalty minutes later to push the SA U20s to 28-19.

The Junior Boks added a fifth try early in the fourth quarter compliments of flyhalf Damian Willemse after spreading the ball out wide while the Varsity Cup Dream Team were reduced to 14 men. This handed the Junior Springboks a 36-19 lead.

The team ensured that they finished the clash strongly with Nama Xaba and Manie Libbok adding further tries in the closing minutes after finding a gap in the defence and dashing through to extend their lead to 43-19.


Junior Springboks 50 (21) – Tries: Ruben van Heerden (2), Salmaan Moerat, Muller Uys, Damian Willemse, Nama Xaba, Manie Libbok. Conversions: Gianni Lombard (6). Penalty Goal: Lombard.

Varsity Cup Dream Team 19 (19) – Tries: Duncan Saal, Craig Barry, Loftus Morrison. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (2).

Davids to lead Junior Boks against Varsity Cup Dream Team


Flank Zain Davids will captain the Junior Boks in Tuesday’s friendly against the Varsity Cup Dream Team at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Davids and Stedman Gans have returned to the SA U20 squad after successful stints with the Blitzboks and slotted straight back into the starting lineup.

The 23-man squad to play in Stellenbosch on Tuesday features just six players who were in the run-on team in their last warm-up match against the Free State Cheetahs. They are Manie Libbok, who moves from fullback to right wing, Wandisile Simelane, Damian Willemse, Embrose Papier, Len Massyn and Kwenzo Blose.

‘This match will serve as the last chance to see what the players have to offer, before we begin to finalise our squad for the U20 Championship, so it is a significant game for the players and the coaches,’ said coach Chean Roux.

‘For some of our players this will be their first match with us, as injuries and other commitments ruled them out of contention for our other warm-up games, and we are excited to see what they have to offer.

‘This match will also offer us the opportunity to test a few new player combinations. We will be playing against the best U20 teams in the world, and need to be as well-prepared as possible to have a shot at winning the title.

‘I was pleased with our defence in our warm-up matches up to now, and I would like to see the team, build on that high standard on Tuesday, and deliver a solid all-round performance,’ Roux added.

Junior Boks – 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Manie Libbok, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Wandisile Simelane, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Zain Davids (c), 5 Ruden van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlű Sadie, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Subs: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Gerhard Steenkamp, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Rewen Kruger, 23 Jean-Luc Cilliers.

Junior Bok squad set for Bloemfontein camp


Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux on Friday named a squad of 47 players invited to attend the team’s second training camp in Bloemfontein from Sunday, 26 March to Sunday, 9 April, with an eye on announcing his squad of 28 for the World Rugby U20 Championship next month.

A total of 33 players will assemble in the City of Roses on Sunday for the two-week camp, which will feature warm-up matches against the Down Touch Griffons, Tafel Lager Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs on 31 March, 5 April and 8 April respectively.

The nine players participating in the final stages of FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International will join the squad as their progress in the tournament permits, while the participation of the five players in contention for Vodacom Super Rugby selection will be determined by their Super Rugby responsibilities.

“This is a big group of players, but the tour to Bloemfontein will offer us an ideal opportunity to test our depth and to make sure we do not leave any stone unturned in trying to select the best possible squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Roux.

“These players, however, are not the only ones we will be looking at, as there are a few nursing injuries while others are training with the Blitzboks’ team.

“That said, we will reduce the size of the squad as our tour to Bloemfontein progresses, with the idea of trying to identify the best possible squad to travel to Georgia in May.”

Roux said while the first training camp in Stellenbosch mainly focused on improving the players’ individual skills, this camp will zone in on skills and match preparation.

“We certainly achieved what we set out to in the first camp, where the focus was mainly on individual skills,” said Roux. “This camp will differ vastly in that we will play three warm-up games. This will offer us the chance to see the players display these skills in a match situation and how they react under pressure, while also allowing us to test possible player combinations.

“The scoreboard certainly won’t be important to us. This camp is all about the processes and testing our structures and systems as we go along.”

The SA Under-20s will face France, Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 31 May, 4 June and 8 June respectively.

Players invited to Junior Bok Bloemfontein camp (alphabetical order):

Player Province Position
Irvin Ali Vodacom Blue Bulls Wing
Juarno Augustus DHL Western Province Looseforward
Jaco Bezuidenhout Vodacom Blue Bulls Looseforward
Kwenzo Blose* Toyota Free State Cheetahs Prop
Curwin Bosch** Cell C Sharks Flyhalf/Fullback
PJ Botha Xerox Golden Lions Hooker
David Brits DHL Western Province Centre
Jean-Luc Cilliers Xerox Golden Lions Flyhalf
Hacjivah Dayimani Xerox Golden Lions Looseforward
Francois de Villiers Cell C Sharks Scrumhalves
Ruben de Villiers* DHL Western Province Lock
Johan Grobbelaar Vodacom Blue Bulls Hooker
Wikus Groenewald* DHL Western Province Prop
Daniel Jooste DHL Western Province Hooker
Leo Kruger Xerox Golden Lions Prop
Rewan Kruger Toyota Free State Cheetahs Scrumhalf
Manie Libbok* Vodacom Blue Bulls Flyhalf/Fullback
Gianni Lombard* Xerox Golden Lions Fullback
Len Massyn* Xerox Golden Lions Looseforward
Simphiwe Matanzima Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Lee-Marvin Mazibuko* DHL Western Province Prop
Khuta Mchunu Cell C Sharks Prop
Salmaan Moerat DHL Western Province Lock
Ilunga Mukendi Cell C Sharks Winger
Mashao Mukhari Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Mfundo Ndhlovu Cell C Sharks Winger
Reinhard Nothnagel* Xerox Golden Lions Lock
Embrose Papier* Vodacom Blue Bulls Scrumhalf
Yaw Penxe EP Kings Winger
Manuel Rass* Xerox Golden Lions Centre
Carlű Sadie DHL Western Province Prop
Wandisile Simelane* Xerox Golden Lions Centre/Wing
Cornel Smit DHL Western Province Centre
Hendre Stassen Vodacom Blue Bulls Lock
Gerhard Steenkamp Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Madosha Tambwe** Xerox Golden Lions Winger
Muller Uys DHL Western Province Flanker
Wayne van der Bank Xerox Golden Lions Centre
Marnus van der Merwe Toyota Free State Cheetahs Hooker
Ruben van Heerden Vodacom Blue Bulls Lock
Benhard Janse van Rensburg** Cell C Sharks Flyhalf
Boan Venter* Toyota Free State Cheetahs Prop
Cobus Wiese** DHL Western Province Lock
Damian Willemse** DHL Western Province Flyhalf
Jondre Williams DHL Western Province Scrumhalf
Courtney Winnaar Cell C Sharks Flyhalf/Fullback
Nama Xaba* DHL Western Province Flanker


*Denotes FNB Varsity Cup players

**Denotes Vodacom Super Rugby Players

Junior Boks turn focus to match-specific training


Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux said his training squad’s preparations this week would include a greater focus on match-specific training to prepare the players for their warm-up games against the central unions from 26 March to 9 April.

The SA U20 training squad assembled in Stellenbosch last week Monday and will wrap up their first training camp on Friday.

The squad will gather in Bloemfontein on Sunday, 26 March, for their second training camp, which features three warm-up matches.

They will face the Down Touch Griffons at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom at 15h00 on Friday, 31 March, before meeting Tafel Lager Griquas in Kimberley at 18h00 on Wednesday, 5 April, and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at 15h00 at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday, 8 April.

The Junior Springboks will play two further warm-up matches, against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, 25 April, and DHL Western Province on Tuesday, 9 May, in Stellenbosch during their third training camp, which runs from 18 April to 12 May.

“Our focus in the first week of the camp was on skills, conditioning and getting the players to understand what we expect from them in the different aspects of the game through a series of training drills,” explained Roux.

“We will continue to work on that this week, but we also plan to introduce more match-like training to prepare the players for the warm-up matches at the next camp.

“In line with this we have arranged to play chukkas against SA Rugby Academy players on Thursday. This will allow the players to implement that which we have been working on at training in a match situation, and it will offer the coaching team an opportunity to see what the players have to offer.

“This will be vital given the fact that we only have a little over two months to prepare the team for the showpiece.”

The players who played FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, joined the squad in Stellenbosch on Tuesday and will remain in camp until Thursday, while Blitzboks players Zain Davids and Stedman Gans will join the team on Wednesday until the conclusion of the camp following the recent HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Las Vegas and Vancouver.

The SA Under-20s will face France, Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 31 May, 4 June and 8 June respectively.

Junior Bok training squad kicks off preparations


The Junior Springbok training squad kicked off their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship on a solid note on Monday with a jam-packed training day in Stellenbosch after getting together on Sunday.

The squad, in the absence of players from the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises, Springbok Sevens squad and FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, started the two-week training camp with an early morning conditioning session before taking to the field for two skills sessions.

They will complete the day’s training with a split session in which the forwards and backs will each have a late-afternoon gym and field session.

Curwin Bosch and Benhard Janse van Rensburg are on Vodacom Super Rugby duty with the Cell C Sharks, while Zain Davids and Stedman Gans are in North America with the Blitzboks, where they won the HSBC Las Vegas Sevens in the early hours of Monday morning (SA time).

Wikus Groenewald, Kwenzo Blose, Abram Venter, Ernst van Rhyn, Reinhard Nothnagel, Eduan Lubbe, Len Massyn, Manie Libbok, Wandisile Simelane, Manuel Rass and Gianni Lombard, meanwhile, will join the squad on Tuesday due to Varsity Cup commitments.

The various Varsity Cup players will return to their teams again on Thursday afternoon, while the two Vodacom Super Rugby players will remain with the Cell C Sharks for the duration of the camp.

Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was pleased to get the preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championships underway and said the focus this week would be on assessing the players and putting their structures in place for the international spectacle.

“We had a great start to the camp,” said Roux.

“We pushed the players hard at training and they have reacted positively, which is very pleasing.

“The main objective at this camp is to assess the state of the players physically and mentally because this is the first time we work with some of them. We need to lay the foundation now so that the players can improve in the required areas as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, the venues and times for the team’s warm-up matches on their tour to the central unions from 26 March to 9 April were confirmed on Monday.

They will face the Down Touch Griffons at the HT Pelatona Projects stadium in Welkom at 15h00 on Friday, 31 March, Tafel Lager Griquas in Kimberley at 18h00 on Wednesday, 5 April, and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at 15h00 at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday, 8 April.

The Junior Springboks will play two further warm-up matches, against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, 25 April, and DHL Western Province on Tuesday, 9 May, in Stellenbosch during their third training camp, which runs from 18 April to 12 May. They will conclude their preparations for the tournament with a holding camp in Stellenbosch from 21 to 25 May.

Junior Springbok training squad announced


Curwin Bosch, Zain Davids and Salmaan Moerat all feature in a 50-man Junior Springbok training squad named by SA Rugby on Tuesday as the preparations begin to take shape for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia from 31 May to 18 June.

Bosch and Davids are among nine players who participated in the tournament in Manchester last year, where the Junior Springboks finished in fourth place, while Moerat is one of six SA Schools team players from 2016 in the training squad.

Stedman Gans, Manie Libbok, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Embrose Papier, Cobus Wiese, Ruben de Villiers, Ernst van Rhyn and Carlű Sadie played for the Junior Boks with Bosch and Davids in 2016.

Moerat, who captained the SA Schools side last year, will be joined by his 2016 team-mates Gianni Lombard, Manuel Rass, Wandisile Simelane, Damian Willemse and Muller Uys.

A total of 86 players were invited to two assessment camps last month in Pretoria and Stellenbosch, where the players participated in a series of speed and strength tests and underwent medical screening. The first training camp will be in Stellenbosch from 5 to 17 March, whereafter the squad will be trimmed down to 28 players in April for the international showpiece, which kicks off in May.

“This is a talented group of players, and we can’t wait to start the real hard work in the lead-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux.

“The players who were selected really worked hard, which is very pleasing. They were aware of the fitness and strength standards required at this level of the game at the conclusion of the assessment camps, and we are proud of the work they put in to achieve that.

“But that was only the first step in what will be a mentally and physically challenging journey to possibly secure a place in the final 28-man squad.

“Over the next two months we will be working hard to put our structures and systems in place and to reach the desired fitness and strength requirements we would like to achieve as a team.

“We have exactly three months to get the team ready before their opening match, which is not much time, especially if one considers that the U20 Six Nations teams are at an advanced stage of their season. But that said, we are excited about the challenge ahead and we believe the players will be up for it.”

This camp will be followed by a tour to the central unions from 26 March to 9 April, which will feature warm-up matches against the Down Touch Griffons in Welkom on Friday, 31 March, Griquas in Kimberley on Wednesday, 5 April and Toyota Free State Cheetahs on Saturday, 8 April.

The Junior Springboks will play another two further warm-up matches, against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, 25 April, and DHL Western Province on Tuesday, 9 May, in Stellenbosch during their third training camp, which runs from 18 April to 12 May. They will conclude their preparations for the tournament with a holding camp in Stellenbosch from 21 to 25 May.

Junior Springbok training squad:

Props: Kwenzo Blose (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Wikus Groenewald (DHL Western Province), Leo Kruger (Xerox Golden Lions), Andrew Kuhn (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Lee-Marvin Mazibuko (DHL Western Province), Khutu Mchunu (Cell C Sharks), Mashao Mukhari (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Carlu Sadie (DHL Western Province), Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Abram Venter (Toyota Free State Cheetahs).

Hookers: Abraham Coetzee (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Johan Grobbelaar (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), HP van Schoor (Xerox Golden Lions).

Locks: Ruben de Villers (DHL Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Western Province), Reinhard Nothnagel (Xerox Golden Lions), Hendre Stassen (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Ruben van Heerden (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Cobus Wiese (DHL Western Province).

Loose forwards: Juarno Augustus (DHL Western Province), Jaco Bezuidenhout (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Hacjivah Dayimani (Xerox Golden Lions), Zain Davids (DHL Western Province), Eduan Lubbe (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Len Massyn (Xerox Golden Lions), Kuyenzeka Xaba (DHL Western Province), Muller Uys (DHL Western Province), Ernst van Rhyn (DHL Western Province).

Scrumhalves: Francois de Villiers (Cell C Sharks), Embrose Papier (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Bradley Thain (Xerox Golden Lions), Wayne van der Bank (Xerox Golden Lions), Jondre Williams (DHL Western Province).

Flyhalves: Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks), Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Cell C Sharks), Manie Libbok (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Damian Willemse (DHL Western Province).

Centres: Irvin Ali (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Heino Bezuidenhout (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Stedman Gans (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Manuel Rass (Xerox Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Xerox Golden Lions), Cornel Smit (DHL Western Province).

Wingers: Ciaran Dayaram (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Ilunga Mukendi (Cell C Sharks), Mfundo Ndhlovu (Cell C Sharks), Michael Tambwe (Xerox Golden Lions).

Fullbacks: Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions), Yaw Penxe (EP Kings)

Junior Bok assessment camp delivers on objectives


SA Rugby Acting High Performance manager Louis Koen said the objectives were achieved at the two Junior Springbok assessment camps this week, but that a lot of hard work lies ahead to prepare for the World Rugby U20 Championship.

A total of 86 players were invited to the camps, which were hosted at the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria and Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS), and all the players – with the exception of those preparing for Vodacom Super Rugby and Zain Davids, who is in Wellington with the Springbok Sevens squad – attended the camps.

“We reached the outcomes we had hoped to achieve at the camps,” said Koen.

“In terms of conditioning we have work to do, especially with the younger players. But some of the players who have been training with their Vodacom Super Rugby teams and those who participated in the SA Rugby U19 Championship last season were at a good level.

“The main focus for us was to establish a baseline, and now that we have it we can work from here and plan accordingly. Dr Warren Adams (Springbok conditioning coach) and his team will now communicate with the players and their provincial unions, so that we can make sure they are at the expected levels when the squad is selected and assembles in camp.”

A Junior Springbok training squad of 45 players will be selected at the end of February, and will have their first training camp from 5 to 17 March in Cape Town.

This will be followed by a local tour, from 26 March to 9 April, where they will play warm-up matches against teams from the Down Touch Griffons, Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs, and a training camp in Cape Town, from 18 April to 12 May.

The team will conclude their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship with a four-day holding camp in May before they depart for the international spectacle on 25 May.

“We plan to visit the unions so that we can get to the players to follow up on what they did at these camps,” said Koen.

“With the assessment camps concluded, we believe our preparations will go smoothly as our planning leading up to the tournament is completed.

“I think we managed to get a great group of players together. They have immense potential and talent and I am very positive about this group. Once the coaching staff are appointed, we will ensure that they are happy and ready to go.”

The SA Under-20s will face France, hosts Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 31 May, 4 June and 8 June respectively.

Junior Boks in challenging U20 Champs 2017 pool


The Junior Springboks have been drawn in a challenging pool with hosts, Georgia, France and Argentina for the 2017 World Rugby Under-20 Championship.


The tournament will be hosted in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, from 31 May to 18 June next year.

The SA U20 team, who finished fourth earlier this year in Manchester, England, have been drawn in Pool C and will kick off their campaign on Wednesday, 31 May against France. They will then meet Georgia on Sunday, 4 June, and Argentina on Thursday, 8 June, in their other pool games.

The Junior Springboks defeated France 40-31 in the pool stages in Manchester, but they went down 19-13 in their round-robin match against Argentina and then suffered a 49-19 defeat against Los Pumitas in the bronze playoff.

England, who were crowned the champions this year, have been drawn in Pool A with Australia, Wales and Samoa, while 2016 runners-up, Ireland, will meet New Zealand, Scotland and Italy in Pool B.

Samoa have been promoted to the U20 Championship after winning the U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe this year. They replace Japan in the competition. The clashes in Pools A and C and the playoff rounds will be hosted in Tbilisi, while the Pool B games will be played in Kutaisi.

“The World Rugby U20 Championship is proving to be an enormously popular and important tournament and it plays a key developmental role in preparing the future stars of the game,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.

“Rugby is growing at an incredible rate in Georgia and interest is at an all-time high. I have no doubt that we’ll see passionate and energetic crowds in Tbilisi and Kutaisi next year as all 12 teams put on a masterclass for fans.

“With preparations continuing for Rugby World Cup 2019, many of the players we see in Georgia could also feature on the greatest stage in Japan in just under three years’ time.”

Meanwhile, SA Rugby has confirmed that the process of finding a new Junior Springbok coach is well underway. An announcement on the new coach will be made in due course.

Junior Springbok pool fixtures at the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship (Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia) – (SA Time):

Wednesday, 31 May: 17h30 – SA v France

Sunday, 4 June: 20h00 – SA v Georgia

Thursday, 8 June: 15h30 – SA vs Argentina

Theron pick his Junior Boks to go to World Championship


Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron on Tuesday named his 28-man squad that will do battle at World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England, from 7 to 25 June.


Eastern Province centre Jeremy Ward will lead the team in the showpiece, while his provincial team-mate Junior Pokomela and 2015 SA Schools captain, DHL Western Province lock Ernst van Rhyn, have been named as vice-captains.

The squad features two players who were members of the Junior Springbok squad that finished third at the international showpiece in Italy last year, namely centre JT Jackson and scrumhalf Marco Jansen van Vuren

Nine members of the SA Schools team that featured in the Under-18 International Series in South Africa last year have also been included. They are centre Stedman Gans, flyhalves Manie Libbok and Curwin Bosch, scrumhalf Embrose Papier, locks Ruben de Villiers and Van Rhyn, loose forwards Cobus Wiese and Zain Davids and prop Carlü Sadie

The Junior Springboks will kick off the 2016 international spectacle against Japan on Tuesday, 7 June at the Academy Stadium, before taking on Argentina on 11 June at the AJ Bell Stadium, and France on 15 June back at the Academy Stadium in the pool stages.

“It is always challenging to name a squad of only 28 players, especially if one considers the immense talent at junior level in South Africa, but we have selected the best possible team for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Theron

“JT and Marco were members of our touring squad last year, and they will be able to guide the other players in terms of what to expect, while we are lucky to have nine players in the squad who have played against some of the northern hemisphere teams in the Under-18 International Series

“Unfortunately injuries ruled a few players out of contention, and I feel for them. But nevertheless I am pleased with the squad we have selected and I believe they have potential to challenge the best teams in the showpiece

“This team offers something different to the sides we have selected in the past, and we are excited by the prospects these players offer.

Among the players who were ruled out of contention for selection due to injury were Xerox Golden Lions lock Rhyno Herbst, who was recently stabbed in an attack, while DHL Western Province prop Wikus Groenewald and Vodacom Blue Bulls utility forward Hendre Stassen are nursing ankle injuries

The team will play their first official warm-up match on Friday at Wits University in Johannesburg against the Xerox Golden Lions Under-19 and Under-21 teams, with an eye on sharpening up their game before the tournament

This will be followed by clashes against Maties in Stellenbosch on Tuesday, 17 May and the SWD Eagles in Oudtshoorn on Saturday 21 May, with the team set to depart for the international showpiece on 2 June

Junior Springbok squad for World Rugby U20 Championship (in alphabetical order):

Tango Balekile (Hooker – Eastern Province)

Kwenzo Blose (Prop – Toyota Free State)

Curwin Bosch (Flyhalf / Fullback – Cell C Sharks)

Jan-Henning Campher (Hooker – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Zain Davids (Loose forward – DHL Western Province)

Ruben de Villiers (Lock – DHL Western Province)

Stedman Gans (Centre – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

James Hall (Scrumhalf – Eastern Province Kings)

Denzel Hill (No 8 – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jaco Holtzhausen (Prop – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

JT Jackson (Centre – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Marco Jansen van Vuren (Scrumhalf – Xerox Golden Lions)

Manie Libbok (Flyhalf / Centre – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Mosolwa Mafuma (Wing – Toyota Free State)

Franco Naude (Centre – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

S’busiso Nkosi (Wing – Cell C Sharks)

Nicolaas Oosthuizen (Prop – Eastern Province)

Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Junior Pokomela (No 8 – Eastern Province, vice-captain)

Carlü Sadie (Prop – DHL Western Province)

Eli Snyman (Lock – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Franco van den Berg (Prop – Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Edwill van der Merwe (Wing – DHL Western Province)

Ernst van Rhyn (Lock / Loose forward – DHL Western Province, vice-captain)

Keanu Vers (Fullback – Eastern Province)

Jeremy Ward (Centre – Eastern Province, captain)

Cobus Wiese (Loose forward – DHL Western Province)

Eduard Zandberg (Lock – DHL Western Province)

By: SA Rugby

Junior Springboks conclude preparations in Stellenbosch


The Junior Springbok training squad on Friday concluded the first phase of their preparations for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship with a tough hit-out against the DHL Western Province Institute.


The two teams went hammer and tongs in windy conditions with the WP youngsters providing SA U20 coach Dawie Theron’s side with a proper test four days before the final 28-man squad is named to travel to England in a few weeks’ time. “Perhaps the first two of our chukka-sessions went too well and some of the guys may have been complacent today, while our handling and lineouts were not good enough,” said Theron after his team’s training session in Stellenbosch.

“Having said that, the Western Province Institute played with a lot of passion and commitment and we had our eyes on a few of their players too. “We were without a couple of our core guys, who are playing Vodacom Super Rugby and Currie Cup Qualifiers this weekend, so we wanted to have a look at some fringe players and after today’s session we are definitely closer to finalising the squad.”

Theron said he will consult with his assistant coaches and national selector, Peter Jooste, before finalising the squad for the tournament in Manchester next month. The announcement is on Tuesday at SA Rugby’s offices in Plattekloof, Cape Town. “The door is still open for a few players and if we were unsure about certain positions, we have more clarity now,” said Theron. “We will properly assess the situation with injured players and those coming back from niggles when we discuss the final squad, and while some of the players in camp now won’t make the initial selection, they will know that they can still play a vital role.

“Our depth is not what it was last year and we know the importance of some of our key players, but the players realise that and know we simply have to work harder.”

The Junior Boks will play three warm-up matches before they depart for England, against the Xerox Golden Lions U19s and U21s (in Johannesburg on 13 May), Maties (in Stellenbosch on 17 May) and South Western Districts (in Oudtshoorn on 21 May). They depart for England on 2 June.

Junior Boks training squad making solid progress



Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron on Tuesday said his team was making solid progress in terms of their game plan and mental toughness as their preparations continue for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England, from 7 June to 25 June.

The Junior Springbok training squad faced the Western Province Academy on Tuesday, in their second contact session since assembling in camp in Stellenbosch earlier this month, and Theron was satisfied with the performance at the end of the hit-out.

The SA U20 training squad produced a solid display in which they scored 14 tries and denied the Western Province Academy from scoring one in the contact session, which was made up of four 20-minute chukkas.

“The two contact sessions have provided a good measure of the strides we have made since the training camp started, and it is particularly pleasing that we have not conceded a try yet,” said Theron.

“So I believe we are on the right track on defence. Our attack and set pieces are also improving steadily, which is encouraging.

“But it is still early days and there is a lot of work to be done before we depart for the World Championship. We have one more contact session against the Western Province Rugby Institute and then we play three warm-up matches, and it is important that we continue to make a steady improvement in these matches to reach the level at which we need to be to compete against the best teams in the world.”

The Junior Springboks, who secured the bronze medal at the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy, will kick off the 2016 international spectacle against Japan on Tuesday, 7 June at the Academy Stadium, before taking on Argentina on 11 June at the AJ Bell Stadium, and France on 15 June back at the Academy Stadium in the pool stages.

The semi-finals of the World Championship will be contested on Monday, 20 June, while the last round of matches, which includes with the eagerly-anticipated final, will be played on Saturday, 25 June.


Theron will name his 28-man squad for the World Rugby Championship on Tuesday, 10 May, with the official capping ceremony set to be hosted in Cape Town on Wednesday, 1 June.


The team will face the Xerox Golden Lions Under-19 and Under-21 teams in Johannesburg on 13 May in their first warm-up match, which will be followed by clashes against Maties in Stellenbosch on 17 May and the SWD Eagles in Oudtshoorn on 21 May, with the team set to depart for the international showpiece on 2 June.


With the second contact session completed, the players have been given a few days off to rest, and will re-assemble in Stellenbosch on Monday.


Junior Springboks pool fixtures, World Rugby U20 Championship (SA Time):

Tuesday, 7 June: 16h15 – South Africa vs Japan (Academy Stadium)

Saturday, 11 June: 19h00 – South Africa vs Argentina (AJ Bell Stadium)

Wednesday, 15 June: 20h45 – South Africa vs France (Academy Stadium)

Junior Boks : Yellow cards were costly


The Junior Springboks will meet France on Saturday at 18h30 in Cremona in the playoff for third place after losing their World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-final 28-20 to England in Calvisano on Monday night.


The South Africans received two yellow cards in the first half, both for high tackles, and the disadvantage allowed England to stamp their authority on the match, especially upfront.

The Junior Boks conceded a push-over try and a penalty try in the period that captain, Hanro Liebenberg and then lock Jason Jenkins were in the sin bin. They rallied with two late tries, but by then it was too late.

Speaking at the post-match conference coach, Dawie Theron, said the disappointing first half inflicted the most damage.

“You must give credit for England, who are the defending champions. They came with a massive forward onslaught and were very physical and direct. Both our forwards who were yellow carded are jumpers in the line-out and that disrupted us.

“The fact that we played with seven forwards for 20 minutes in the first half really sapped our energy and left us with too much to do in the end,” said Theron.

Skipper Liebenberg added the Junior Boks could not get going with their set pieces, which allowed England the upper hand.

“We pride ourselves on our set piece play and England did their homework, making it hard for us in those areas. We have a lot of pride to play for against France on Saturday,” said Liebenberg.

New Zealand and England will play Saturday at 20h30 in the final to determine the 2015 champion. Both matches will be shown live on SuperSport


Junior Boks change two for semi-final



Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron made two changes to his match-23 for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-final against defending champions England on Monday evening in Calvisano, Italy.

DHL Western Province flank Rikus Bothma takes over the No 6 jersey from his provincial team mate Jacques Vermeulen, while Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings) replaces Grant Hermanus (DHL WP) on the bench.

The rest of the match squad who defeated Australia in Calvisano last Wednesday, were kept unchanged.

Theron said the changes are part of the team’s rotational policy.

“We know this tournament is a marathon and not a sprinting race and we therefore have to be sensible with our player management process. All the players are fit and in good shape and now they must go out and do the business.

“We are not looking at England’s previous result (they lost to France in their final pool match). They are in the semi-finals and will be looking to play in a third successive final. We know they will be highly motivated and will definitely have a good plan against us,” said Theron.

Theron and his conditioning staff have managed the activities of the Junior Bok squad very carefully during the past few days in an effort to keep them fresh.

“Although we have seen some rain here the past few days, the weather is still hot and humid and we therefore tried to give the players as must rest as possible.

“They are refreshed again and I am very pleased with their attitude and readiness. Earlier today (Sunday) we took them for an outing to Maranello, which they thoroughly enjoyed, and will finish off our preparations with the captains run in the early evening,” added to Theron.

The match starts at 20h30 and will be televised live on SuperSport in South Africa. New Zealand and France clash in the other semi-final at 18h30 at the same venue.

The Junior Springbok team to face Australia Under-20 in Calvisano is:

15. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

14. Khanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)

13. EW Viljoen (DHL Western Province)

12. Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)

11. Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)

10. Brendon Thomson (DHL Western Province)

9. Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

8. Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

7. Jean-Luc du Plessis (Cell C Sharks)

6.  Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province)

5. RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

4. Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

3. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)

2. Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

1. Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)


16. Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

17. Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)

18. Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)

19. Hyron Andrews (Cell C Sharks)

20. Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

21. Marco Jansen van Vuren (Xerox Golden Lions)

22. Tinus de Beer (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

23. Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings)



Junior Boks to face Australia


DHL Western Province centre EW Viljoen will earn a first starting berth for the Junior Springboks against Australia on Wednesday evening in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship Pool B decider in Calvisano, Italy.


He replaces Vodacom Blue Bulls centre JT Jackson, who played in the previous Championship outings against Italy and Samoa. Jackson drops out of the match-23.

Viljoen, who will anchor the midfield with provincial partner Daniel du Plessis, is one of two backline changes to the team that faced Samoa. His WP team-mate Khanyo Ngcukana, who played against Italy in the opening match, reclaims his place in the starting-15 in place of Grant Hermanus on the right wing.

WP flank Jacques Vermeulen, who started four matches for the Junior Boks in New Zealand last year and who came off the bench last Saturday, will start in the No 6 jersey. He switches places with Dan du Preez, who has been named among the replacements.

The South Africans will round off their preparations on Tuesday evening for this important fixture.

Dawie Theron, the Junior Springbok coach, said his team is well-prepared for the game.  “We have picked a very competitive side to face the quality Australian outfit. They showed with their two wins against Samoa and Italy that they are a huge threat, especially with the ball in hand, so we will have to work hard to counter their strong points,” said Theron.

The big South Africa Under-20 pack have been in impressive form at the tournament so far and Theron expects another good display from his forward unit.

“Our forwards are showing good form and the key for us will be to keep our momentum, reduce the number of errors and to create more opportunities for our backs,” said Theron.

South Africa and Australia are only separated by points’ difference at the top of the Pool B standings, and the winner will qualify automatically for the semifinals on 15 June. The pool winners and the best-placed second team across the three respective groups will qualify for the semifinals.

The match starts at 20h30 and will be televised live on SuperSport.

The Junior Springbok team to face Australia Under-20 in Calvisano is:
15. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
14. Khanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)
13. EW Viljoen (DHL Western Province)
12. Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)
11. Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)
10. Brendon Thomson (DHL Western Province)
9. Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
8. Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
7. Jean-Luc du Plessis (Cell C Sharks)
6. Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)
5. RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4. Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
3. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)
2. Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
1. Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
16. Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
17. Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)
18. Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)
19. Hyron Andrews (Cell C Sharks)
20. Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)
21. Marco Jansen van Vuren (Xerox Golden Lions)
22. Tinus de Beer (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
23. Grant Hermanus (DHL Western Province

Junior Springboks get second bonus point win


The Junior Springboks scored their second-bonus point win of the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship when they delivered a powerful forward display to beat Samoa 40-8 on Saturday evening in Parma.


The South Africans forwards scored three tries in the first half to showcase their dominance upfront, while two more tries in the second half capped off a satisfying performance by the team who will now face Australia on Wednesday in what could be a pool decider. The pool winners qualify automatically for the semifinals on June 15.

The opening two tries came from a powerful display by the forwards and South Africa comfortably lead 21-3 at halftime.

Big prop Thomas du Toit was the first to crash over as early as the 10th minute. They had to wait until a few minutes before halftime, when lock Jason Jenkins crashed over after Samoa elected not to contest the line-out. In between flyhalf Brandon Thomson kicked over three penalties and a conversion.

Samoa struggled in the scrum where the South Africans had the upper-hand throughout, while only desperate defence at times stopped the Junior Boks from crossing over for more tries.

South Africa started the second half in dominant mood and were rewarded with two tries in less than ten minutes. Captain and No8 Hanro Liebenberg scored the forward’s third try of the evening and left wing Leolin Zas finally got the backs on the scoreboard when he dotted down after a fine break and equally good offload from inside centre Daniel du Plessis.

That try brought up the much-needed bonus point with the score at 33-3, which allowed the South Africans to earn their second successive five point win. With 14 minutes left to play on the clock Samoan substitute fullback Pisi Leilua scored with a spectacular dive in the corner while left wing Malu Falaniko kicked a penalty for the Samoan total of eight points.

South Africa were awarded a penalty try in the dying moments after Samoa could not cope with the Junior Bok scrumming power. This was converted by Thinus de Beer in the final act of play.

Junior Springbok captain, Hanro Liebenberg, praised his team afterwards.  “This was a much better show than against Italy in our opening match. Our set-pieces worked very well today, although I think we can still improve in our line-out play,” Liebenberg said.

“We will now go and study the play of Australia and do some homework on them to prepare for the final pool match,” Liebenberg said.


Junior Springboks 40 (21): Tries: Thomas du Toit, Jason Jenkins, Hanro Liebenberg, Leolin Zas and Penalty Try. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (2). Thinus de Beer. Penalties: Thomson (3).

Samoa 8 (3). Try: Pisi Leilua. Penalty: Malu Falaniko

Junior Bok side to face Samoa


Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron has made eight changes to his match-23 for Saturday’s Pool B match at the World Under-20 Championship against Samoa in Parma, Italy.


Four of these players will make a first start for the team, although only right wing Grant Hermanus will make a run-on debut in the tournament. Mzamo Majola (prop), Hyron Andrews (lock), Jacques Vermeulen (flank) and EW Viljoen (fullback) are all on the bench.

As part of his player management process at the World Rugby Under-20’s, Theron also made three changes to his pack of forwards. Hooker Joseph Dweba, Jason Jenkins (lock) and Dan du Preez (No 6 flank) will start on Saturday in Parma after all three saw action from the bench against Italy.  It means the Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, will play together in the starting team for the first time in Italy.

Theron commented as follows on the several changes: “The changes are all part of our process to manage the players effectively during the tournament. There is a short turnaround time between matches and we must make use of our full squad.”

He says his team have prepared well for Samoa: “We expect Samoa to be very physical against us. They were competitive and very physical against Australia and we can expect the same on Saturday. They are also prepared to run the ball from anywhere so we will have to be on our guard with our defense.”

Kick-off is at 18h30 and the match will be shown live on SuperSport and also on the World Rugby streaming on the Internet.

The Junior Springbok team to face Samoa Saturday in Parma:
15. Warrick Gelant
14. Grant Hermanus
13. JT Jackson
12. Daniel du Plessis
11. Leolin Zas
10. Brandon Thomson
9. Ivan van Zyl
8. Hanro Liebenberg ©
7. Jean-Luc du Preez
6. Dan du Preez
5. RG Snyman
4. Jason Jenkins
3. Thomas du Toit
2. Joseph Dweba
1. Ox Nche
16. Jan van der Merwe
17. Mzamo Majola
18. Frans van Wyk
19. Hyron Andrews
20. Jacques Vermeulen
21. Marco Jansen van Vuren
22. Tinus de Beer
23. EW Viljoen

Dawie Theron on his selections

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 24, Dawie Theron during the SA Under 20 training session and media briefing at Markotter Stadium on January 24, 2012 in Stellenbosch, South Africa Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images
Dawie Theron during the SA Under 20 training session
Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images


Junior Boks fly out for U20 World Champs in Italy


STELLENBOSCH, South Africa - 26 May 2015,  during the capping ceremony of the Springbok under 20 rugby team that will participate in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy. The ceremony was held in Paul Roos Gimnasium's Markotter club house. Photo by Roger Sedres/  ImageSA
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa – 26 May 2015, during the capping ceremony of the Springbok under 20 rugby team that will participate in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy. The ceremony was held in Paul Roos Gimnasium’s Markotter club house.
Photo by Roger Sedres/ ImageSA



A motivated Junior Springbok squad flew out of Cape Town to Italy on Wednesday where they will compete in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

The South Africans find themselves as one of the firm favourites after coming so close to beating England in a pulsating final last June in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Junior Boks travel to Italy for this year’s instalment of the tough Under-20 Championship buoyed by a good 2-0 away series victory over Argentina.

A fit and well-conditioned Junior Bok squad of 28 players will now attempt to become only the second South African team to lift the U20 Championship crown and thus following in the footsteps of the triumphant side of 2012.

On Tuesday, the team completed their home preparations for the three-week long competition on with a strenuous workout in Stellenbosch, before attending the traditional capping ceremony later in the evening.

Apart from the trials, the squad’s training camp of six weeks included two training matches against the Western Province Rugby Institute, a thrilling successful clash against a star-studded Varsity Cup Dream Team plus an away series against the formidable Los Pumitas.

Junior Bok coach Dawie Theron said the squad were excited and looking forward to get to Italy after the long and intensive training camp.

“The boys are rearing to go and we have a great team spirit,” said Theron. “They are in a very good conditioning shape and I am pleased with the amount of work we have done at our training base in Stellenbosch.”

The added it was important to approach the tournament in a good, positive mind-set. According to him, the tour to Argentina played a huge part in their mental preparation for the annual showpiece.

“We simulated our training and travelling activities according to our Italy tournament programme, so that we can ensure all of them have a proper understanding of the rigorous time that await them in Italy.

“This is a well-balanced squad, with powerful forwards and really quick backs, so the coaching staff are really looking forward to see them play against quality opposition. We go there with high expectations but fully aware that we will have to work extremely hard during a very competitive tournament,” said Theron.

The South Africans open their fixture list on Tuesday, 2 June when they will be in action against hosts Italy in the Stadio San Michele in Calvisano. Next up is Samoa on Saturday, 6 June in Parma before they return to Calvisano for their last Pool B match against Australia. The playoffs are scheduled for 15 and 20 June.

The Junior Springbok squad for the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy:

Forwards (16)

Hyron Andrews (Cell C Sharks)

Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province)

Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)

Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Njabulo Gumede (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls – captain)

Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)

Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)

Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)

Backs (12)

Tinus de Beer (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)

Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Grant Hermanus (DHL Western Province)

JT Jackson (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings)

Marco Jansen van Vuren (Xerox Golden Lions)

Khanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)

Brandon Thomson (DHL Western Province)

Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

EW Viljoen (DHL Western Province)

Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)

SuperSport will show all the matches live, while you can also follow the progress of the Junior Springboks on Twitter at @JuniorBoks.

Liebenberg to lead Junior Boks


springbok 7


Vodacom Blue Bulls No 8 Hanro Liebenberg will lead the Junior Springboks at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy next month, SARU confirmed on Wednesday.

Liebenberg will skipper the 28-man squad during the three-week tournament from 2 to 20 June. He led the Junior Boks to a thrilling win over the Varsity Cup Dream Team last month and also captained them when they clinched a 2-0 series win over the Argentina Under-20 side in Rosario last Saturday.

The squad, which was chosen by the national selectors, consists of 16 forwards and 12 backs, and includes six players who featured in last year’s tournament in New Zealand. Last year England edged the young South Africans by a single point in a memorable final at Eden Park in Auckland.

Jean-Luc du Preez (flank), Thomas du Toit (prop, both Cell C Sharks), Joseph Dweba (hooker, Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Abongile Nonkontwana (lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jacques Vermeulen (No 8, DHL Western Province) and Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls) are the players who will represent the Junior Boks for a second successive year.

The Junior Springbok squad shows four changes from the touring group that returned from Argentina on Monday evening.

Lock RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls) got the nod to travel to Italy after he sat out the Los Pumitas series because of an ankle injury. WP centre EW Viljoen and Blue Bulls flyhalf Tinus de Beer, who also did not tour Argentina, were both selected for the Italian job.

The Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, who were selected for the 2014 tournament, are also members of the 28-man squad. Dan, however, withdrew days before the team left for New Zealand last year because of a shoulder injury.

The Junior Boks will assemble on Sunday for their final training camp in Stellenbosch. They will have field sessions next Monday and Tuesday at the Paul Roos Markotter Stadium, with the capping ceremony scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening. The squad will fly out to Italy next Wednesday afternoon.

Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron said the squad boasts a well-balanced selection.

“I think we have selected a well-balanced squad with the prospect of some really good combinations. Although we expect dry weather conditions for the tournament, we have to take into account that all our group matches will be played at night. This is where your combinations will play an important role,” explains Theron.

He added: “We have a good training camp behind us, culminating in a successful tour of Argentina. We will now conclude our preparations with two more sessions on Monday and Tuesday.”

The SA Pool B fixtures at the U20 World Championship in Italy are:

Tuesday, 2 June

20h30 – SA vs Italy (in Calvisano)

Saturday, 6 June

18h30 – SA vs Samoa (in Parma)

Wednesday, 10 June

20h30 – SA vs Australia (in Calvisano)

The Junior Springbok squad for the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy:

Forwards (16)

Hyron Andrews (Cell C Sharks)

Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province)

Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)

Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Njabulo Gumede (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

*Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls – captain)

Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)

Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)

Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)

Backs (12)

Tinus de Beer (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)

Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Grant Hermanus (DHL Western Province)

JT Jackson (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings)

Marco Jansen van Vuren (Xerox Golden Lions)

Khanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)

Brandon Thomson (DHL Western Province)

Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

EW Viljoen (DHL Western Province)

Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)

Junior Boks edge Los Pumitas


The Junior Springboks were made to fight hard to overcome a courageous Argentina Under-20 rugby team by 25-22 in the first of two matches between the sides late on Tuesday in Santa Fe, Argentina.


Los Pumitas led 15-10 at halftime after they dominated possession and territory while playing with a strong wind in their favour in the first half. They scored two tries and a penalty to take a deserved lead, while the Junior Boks answered with a converted try and a penalty to stay within distance despite their many unforced errors.

The young South Africans used their dominance in the scrums and set pieces to much better effect in the second half, adding a penalty and an excellent try to edge out the hosts in front of a passionate crowd.

Los Pumitas took an early 5-0 lead after prop Christian Bartolini barged his way over in the corner with less than three minutes on the clock. SA Under-20 fly half Ernst Stapelberg slotted a penalty seven minutes later to make the score 5-3, but it was the home team who crossed the line again after flanker Jose Deheza finished a sweeping move (12-3).

Fullback Emiliano Bofelli then hit the target with his first penalty kick after the visitors were penalised for a repeated offence, which also saw left wing Leolin Zas yellow carded.

With the breeze in their favour, the Junior Boks made a better start in the second half. Hermanus, now back on the field of play, took the final pass to dot down after an impressive passage of forward play.

That try levelled the scores at 15-all and South Africa took the lead for the first time several minutes later via the boot of Stapelberg who succeeded with a penalty (18-15). However, just minutes later the home team regained the lead when Bofelli ran in to score for a try which he also converted (22-18).

With the clock marching on and Los Pumitas defending courageously, the Junior Springboks were made to fought extremely hard for their winning try. It eventually came via a strong run down the middle from impressive number eight Dan du Preez. When Stapelberg added the conversion it secured a hard-fought 25-22 victory.

Dawie Theron, the Junior Springbok coach, was afterwards a relieved man.

“We had a long journey coming here, had only one full training session and a bus trip of more than two hours to the stadium today. I told the players this match would be a huge test of character for them and Argentina did exactly what we expected, making it extremely difficult for us to play our normal game. They were strong upfront and tackled as if their lives depended on it,” explained Theron.

Theron admitted his harsh words during halftime had the desired effect on his players in the second half.

“We were much more composed and calm and that allowed us to eventually fight our way back successfully. I’m pleased with the effort and the character of the guys, but we now also know the areas where we must work on for the next match,” added Theron.

The two teams meet again next Saturday in Rosario.

The point scorers:

Argentina Under-20:

Tries: Christian Bartolini, Jose Deheza, Emiliano Bofelli. Conversions: Bofelli (2); Penalty: Bofelli.

Junior Springboks:

Tries: Michael Jaer, Grant Hermanus, Dan du Preez; Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2); Penalties: Stapelberg (2).

One change for Junior Boks for Pumas game


Vodacom Blue Bulls lock RG Snyman on Tuesday was withdrawn from the Junior Springbok touring squad to Argentina due to an ankle ligament injury.


The big lock hurt his ankle during a training session in Stellenbosch and will be out of action for between two and four weeks. Loose forward Rikus Bothma, the former SA Schools captain and skipper of last year’s DHL Western Province Under-19 team, has been named as his replacement.

Snyman will continue with his rehabilitation until Friday and will return to the camp when the squad reassembles after the tour. He will undergo a fitness test on his return.

The Junior Boks fly out to South America early on Friday morning for their two-match series against the Argentina Under-20 team. The two teams will clash on 12 and 16 May in Rosario as part of their final preparations for the upcoming World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy.

The young South Africans will have one more hit-out before the tour on Wednesday when they take to the field at 10h00 against the Western Province Rugby Institute at the Paul Roos Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch.

Meanwhile, two more players have joined the national Under-20 training squad. Wing Duhan van der Merwe, who was a member of the Junior Bok squad that travelled to New Zealand last year, and his Vodacom Blue Bulls team-mate, flyhalf Thinus de Beer, were added to the squad on Monday.

The Junior Springbok squad to represent South Africa at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in June will be announced after the touring party have returned from Argentina on 18 May.

Junior Bok squad for Argentine tour


SARU has confirmed the 28-man Junior Springbok squad for a two-match series against Argentina Under-20 in Rosario next month.


The squad will be led by Vodacom Bulls number eight Hanro Liebenberg, who also captained the Junior Boks last week in their match against the Varsity Cup Dream Team in Stellenbosch.

The Junior Springboks fly out to Argentina on 8 May and return ten days later. They will play against their Argentine counterparts, on 12 and 16 May in Rosario.

A total of 17 forwards and 11 backs were selected for the trip. The short tour forms an important part of the Junior Springboks’ preparations for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in June in Italy.

According to Dawie Theron, the Junior Springbok coach, the tour against the Los Pumitas will give his squad important playing time against strong opposition.

“We only have three matches left before we play in the Under-20 Championship in Italy. Two are against Argentina U20 and the remaining outing will be against the WP Rugby Institute in Stellenbosch. So this tour is vital for our preparations,” Theron emphasised.

He added: “Argentina is a very tough team to play, especially on their home ground so we can brace ourselves for two tough, physical clashes. The boys did well to come out on top of a very good Varsity Cup Dream Team last week and now we will have another two matches to try our combinations and give much needed game time to our players.”

Cell C Sharks fly half Innocent Radebe, who had a very solid match last week in Stellenbosch for the Varsity Cup Dream Team against the Junior Boks, was ruled out of the tour because of an ankle injury he sustained while on Vodacom Cup duty this past weekend.

The Junior Springbok squad to tour Argentina from 8 – 18 May are:

Forwards (17)

Hyron Andrews (Cell C Sharks)

Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)

Joseph Dwebe (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Njabulo Gumede (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Ruan Kramer (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

*Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Bulls – captain)

Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)

Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)

CJ Velleman (EP Kings)

Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)

Backs (11)

Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)

Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Grant Hermanus (DHL Western Province)

JT Jackson (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings)

Marco Janse van Vuuren (Golden Lions)

Khanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)

Ernst Stapelberg (DHL Western Province)

Brandon Thomson (DHL Western Province)

Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)

Junior Boks beat Varsity Dream Team


The Junior Boks produced an improved second-half display to see off the Varsity Cup Dream Team 31-24 in Stellenbosch reports SARugbyMag.co.za


Dawie Theron’s team were thoroughly tested in their first run out of their year and might well have been on the receiving end of a defeat had the Varsity side opted for poles on a number of occasions through the match.

As it was, they were outscored by four tries to three, with the penalties from flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg and Brandon Thomson proving the difference in the end.

The Varsity side dominated territory and possession in the first half and deservedly went into the break leading 12-10 thanks to a penalty try and a try from fullback Rhyno Smith. Theron wouldn’t have been pleased with his side’s performance, especially at the set-pieces, where they struggled against the more experienced Varsity players.

However, the second half brought with it a more structured approach from the Junior Boks, who hit the front after replacement hooker Jan van der Merwe went over from the back of a rolling maul.

A brilliant individual try from scrumhalf Dillon Smit brought the Varsity Cup side back into the match, but a penalty try and yellow card for replacement prop Dayaan van der Westhuizen left Franco Smith’s side with a mountain to climb in the final quarter.

They showed great spirit to hit back with another try from the rolling maul, despite being a man down, but two penalties from Thomson secured a hard-fought win for the Junior Boks.

Junior Springboks – Tries: Daniel du Plessis, Jan van der Merwe, penalty try. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg, Brandon Thomson. Penalties: Stapelberg (2), Thomson (2).
Varsity Cup Dream Team – Tries: Penalty try, Rhyno Smith, Dillon Smit, Elandré Hugget. Conversions: Innocent Radebe, Rhyno Smith.

Junior Springboks – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Kanyo Ngcukana, 13 JT Jackson, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Dan du Preez, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Abongile Nonkontwana, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Mzamo Majola, 17 Jan van der Merwe, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Marco Janse van Vuuren, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Grant Hermanus.

Varsity Cup Dream Team – 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Maphutha Dolo, 13 Rowayne Beukman, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Innocent Radebe, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Jeandré Rudolph , 7 Henco Venter, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Reniel Hugo (c), 4 Irne Herbst, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Johan Smith.
Subs: 16 Nqobisizwe Mxoli, 17 Elandré Hugget, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 22 Johnny Welthagen, 23 Lihleli Xoli.

Junior Springbok squad to face Varsity Cup Dream Team




The national selectors have confirmed the Junior Springbok match-23 to face a strong Varsity Cup Dream Team in Stellenbosch on Tuesday evening. The match will kick-off at 18h30 at the Danie Craven Stadium and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

Four players who represented the Junior Springboks at the 2014 Junior World Championship in New Zealand ­- Warrick Gelant (fullback), Dan du Preez (flank), Abongile Nonkontwana (lock) and Joseph Dweba (hooker) – will again line up for the Junior Boks.

The historic clash, which marks the first of its kind between the sides, is an important part of the Junior Boks’ preparation for the newly named World Rugby Under-20 Championship which will be hosted in Italy in June.

“This match is exactly what the team needs at this stage,” said Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron. “Although we started a while back with our training camp in Stellenbosch, we only had the full training squad together for a short while as some of the players had Varsity Cup and provincial commitments.”

Theron expected a tough test on Tuesday and said: “We had a good training session on Thursday morning against the WP Rugby Institute and it was great to test the guys in match like conditions. The Varsity Cup Dream Team, however, is very strong and they will no doubt give us a good workout. The Dream Team consists of the best players of the Varsity Cup and they also have several players who have played for the Junior Springboks in the past, so they will be familiar with our structures.”

The Junior Springboks to face the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday in Stellenbosch:

Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Kanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)

JT Jackson (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)

Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)

Ernst Stapelberg (DHL Western Province)

Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

CJ Velleman (EP Kings)

RG Snyman ((Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Ruan Kramer (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)


Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)

Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)

Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)

Marco Janse van Vuuren (Xerox Golden Lions)

Brandon Thomson (DHL Western Province)

Grant Hermanus (DHL Western Province)

  • Kick-off: 18h30
  • Venue: Danie Craven Stadium
  • Live on SuperSport 1

Extended Baby Bok squad named..


The South African Rugby Union on Wednesday announced a large group of players to participate in the Junior Springbok trials camp early next month in Stellenbosch. The trials will kick-start the process to select the Junior Springbok squad of 28 players for the upcoming World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy in June.


The best local Under-20 players will assemble on Sunday, 30 March at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) and will remain in camp until 2 April. This will be followed by a break for the Easter holidays. The camp will feature two trial matches on Tuesday 31 March and Thursday 2 April respectively at the Paul Roos Markottër Stadium.

Players such as Thomas du Toit, Dan du Preez (both, Cell C  Sharks), RG Snyman and Warrick Gelant (both, Vodacom Blue Bulls) who are currently busy with Vodacom Super Rugby commitments, were excluded from the trials squad. Duhan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province) are currently injured and were not considered.

Following the trials, a smaller group of 34 players will return to SAS on 6 April for the Junior Springbok training camp. This training camp will include the following activities:

  • Training exercises against the DHL Western Province Rugby Institute;
  • A match against a Varsity Cup select XV,
  • And a short tour of Argentina featuring two matches against the Los Pumitas.

Commenting on the World Rugby U20 Championship preparations Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron said he would follow the same template as last year. The Junior Springboks came agonisingly close to winning a second Junior World Championship title in three years last season but lost by a single point against defending champions England  in Wellington after an impressive run of results in their march to the Eden Park final.

“Our decision last year to keep the players together in camp for an extended time rather than having several shorter camps proved very successful, so we will do so again this year,” said Theron, who led the Junior Boks to their first JWC title in 2012 and a third place finish in France in 2013. “We were able to work with the players daily and monitor their rehabilitation in instances of injuries.”

Theron said the conditions in Italy would play a role in the selection process: “Last year we went for a big, physical squad because of the heavy and wet conditions in New Zealand. The indications are that the field conditions in Italy will allow for a faster type of game, so we will have to keep that in mind during the trials and in our preparations,” said Theron.

The training match against the DHL Western Province Rugby Institute will be hosted at the Paul Roos Markottër Stadium on 16 April at 15h30, while a match against a Varsity Cup XV is also on the cards.

The training squad will fly out to Argentina from Cape Town on 8 May and the two matches against the Argentina Under-20 are pencilled in for 12 and 16 May respectively. They return to South Africa the following day for a short break before the official Junior Bok squad assembles on 25 May. The final squad will depart for the international showpiece on 27 May.

Five players who represented the Junior Boks in the 2014 JWC edition in New Zealand and are eligible to play for the team again this year, were invited to the trials. They are: Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls, lock), Joseph Dweba (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, hooker), Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks, lock), Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks, flank), Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province, eighthman).

Furthermore, several players who attended the 2014 training camp but were not selected for the JWC in NZ, were again called up to the trials this year. They are: Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs, prop), Ayron Scrhamm (Cell C Sharks, eighthman), Dan du Plessis (DHL Western Province, centre), Justin Phillips (DHL Western Province, centre), Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province, prop), EW Viljoen (DHL Western Province, fullback).

The following players are invited to attend the Junior Springbok trials from 29 March to 2 April in Stellenbosch (province or university team, name and surname, position):

Vodacom Blue Bulls

Matthys Basson (prop), Warrick Gelant (centre), Njabula Gumede (prop), Dewald Human (flyhalf), JT Jackson (centre), Jason Jenkins (lock), Jurie Linde (centre), Jinx Molapo (wing), Adrian Maebane (centre), Menzi Nhlabathi (flanker), Abongile Nonkontwana (lock), Luigy Van Jaarsveld (number eight), Alandre Van Rooyen (hooker), Ivan Van Zyl (scrumhalf)

Boland Cavaliers

GL Erasmus (scrumhalf

Eastern Province

Malcolm Jaer (fullback), Tyler Paul (flank), CJ Velleman (flank)

Toyota Free State Cheetahs

Joseph Dweba (hooker), Lorenzo Gordon (wing), Gunther Janse van Vuuren (prop), Gerhardus Labuschagne (centre), Ox Nche (prop), Stephen Rautenbach (centre), Frans Steyn (Shimlas, hooker), Andre Swarts (wing), Arno van Staden (wing), Conrad van Vuuren (prop), Reinach Venter (hooker), Jasper Wiese (number eight)

Xerox Golden Lions

Ruan Ackermann (lock), Marco Janse van Vuuren (scrumhalf), Le Roux Roets (lock), Gerdus van der Walt (centre)

Cell C Sharks

Hyron Andrews (lock), Dan du Preez (lock), Jean-Luc du Preez (flanker), Ruan Kramer (prop), Rowan Gouws (scrumhalf), Mzamo Majola (prop), Ayron Scrhamm (number eight),  Innocent Radebe (flyhalf)


Mogau Mabokela (Pukke, prop), Walt Steenkamp (Pukke, lock)

DHL Western Province

Ruan Brits  (hooker), Dan du Plessis (hooker), Daniel du Plessis (centre), Jaco Coetzee (number eight), Grant Hermanus (fullback), Michael Kumbirai (prop), Remu Malan (Maties, scrumhalf), Daniel Maree (flank), Ryan Oosthuizen (centre), Khanyo Ngcukana (wing), Justin Phillips (scrumhalf), Ernst Stapelberg (flyhalf), Brandon Thomson (flyhalf), Christo van der Merwe (Maties, flanker), Francois van der Merwe (prop), Frans van Wyk (prop), Jacques Vermeulen (flanker), EW Viljoen (fullback), Edward Zandbergh (lock), Leolin Zas (wing)

Theron praises composed Junior Boks


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Springboks under-20 coach Dawie Theron said his team’s ability to absorb pressure was the key factor which led to a thrilling 32-25 semi-final win over New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday.

“It was like a proper Test match out there. It was full of tension, drama and excitement and I’m immensely proud of the boys,” Theron said at QBE Stadium after the game.

“We kept our composure and I knew we were always in the game despite going behind at half-time and twice again in the second half.”

South Africa will play defending champions England in the Junior World Championship (JWC) final on Friday at Eden Park, after hooker Corniel Els scored from a driving maul in the 78th minute to steal victory for the visitors.

“Credit must go the players. They showed huge fighting spirit and great composure to close out the game like that,” Theron added.

“Their composure can be attributed to what we do in training. During our sessions we keep the intensity high and always put them under pressure, because that is what you have to do to win games such as these.”

With sudden death extra-time looming and the scores locked at 25-25, the Junior Springboks produced a dominant driving maul which saw Els dot down in the corner to send the visiting South African crowd into raptures.

Theron, who guided the Junior Boks to the JWC title in 2012, said his forward pack laid the foundation for the come-from-behind victory.

“We always knew that New Zealand would target our mauls so we devised a plan to counter them.

“They performed much better in the lineouts. However, we had faith in our approach we also kicked much better in the second half, which forced them to play differently.

“Our physical strength up front and the way we controlled our set pieces were vital and in the end it was a fantastic maul which secured us the winning try.”

The veteran coach and former player was quick to point out that the Boks still had plenty of hard work in the coming days before the team are allowed to get carried away.

“We will enjoy this win but we know that we haven’t won anything yet. England were outstanding against Ireland in the other semi-final and from tomorrow we will prepare very carefully for the final.” – Sapa

Pollard wins IRB Award


2014 Junior World Championship - Match Day 5

Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard has been named the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2014 following his side’s 21-20 defeat to England in the IRB Junior World Championship final at Eden Park on Friday.

Pollard is the second South African to win the Award after Jan Serfontein, his teammate when the Junior Springboks won the Junior World Championship title on home soil in 2012.

The 20-year-old edged out England wing Nathan Earle, Ireland centre Garry Ringrose and New Zealand wing Tevita Li following a comprehensive voting system.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “It is always a difficult task to select a winner, especially when all the candidates have performed so impressively during a spectacular Junior World Championship, but Handré Pollard is a deserved recipient of the prestigious IRB Junior Player of the Year award.”

“His superb marshalling at fly half has been an eye-catching feature of the Junior Boks’ passage to the final and Pollard has performed throughout with great poise, control and adventure. I would like to extend my congratulations to him.”

“While accolades are well deserved, it is the on and off-field character-building experiences that will pave the way for all the talented young players at this tournament to grow into great rugby players. I wish the class of 2014 all the best and thank them for the pleasure and inspiration that they have given to fans around the world.”

Pollard dedicated his award to his team mates: “Absolutely, it is a big honour for me and all the credit goes to my teammates. I think you can’t do anything in rugby without your teammates and that’s the beauty of it, it’s such a team sport and these group of guys we were so amazing. We fought for the jersey and we fought for pride and that’s what rugby is about for me,” said Pollard.

The fly half was outstanding throughout the tournament, leading South Africa’s challenge with a great maturity and inspired others to follow his example, setting up or scoring pivotal scores to turn a match in his side’s favour.

JWC: All Blacks 25(15), Springboks 32(10)


The Junior Springboks take the host New Zeeland in the semi final to secure a spot in the Championship final. It is almost the same team which beat the Baby Blacks two weeks ago, this is gonna be a cracker.
The Teams:
Junior Springboks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Lloyd Greeff, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Handré Pollard (captain),9 JP Smith, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Victor Sekekete, 21 Zee Mkhabela,
22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel.
Junior All Blacks: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Vince Tavae –Aso, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown (captain), 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Kyle Harris, 5 Geoffrey Cridge, 4 James Tucker, 3 Tau Koloamatangi, 2 Epalahame Faiva, 1 Atunaisa Moli.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Scott Mellow, 18 Tim Cadwallader, 19 Mathew Peni, 20 Troy Callander, 21 Josh Renton,22 Kaveinga Finau, 23 David Havili.
Date: 15 June
Venue: QBE Stadium, Albany
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT; 09.35 SA time)
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)

Baby Boks survive Samoa test



Junior Boks edge Samoa to clinch semi-final spot against NZ

The Junior Springboks defeated a spirited Samoa 21-8 at a rain swept ECOLight Stadium on Tuesday in Pukekohe to book a semi-final slot against hosts New Zealand Under-20 after they finished unbeaten and top of Pool C at the IRB Junior World Championship.

The South Africans will meet their traditional rivals for the second time in three matches at the JWC when the semi-finals will be played on 15 June at the QBE Stadium in Albany.

The New Zealanders outplayed Scotland 54-7 to take the fourth and last semi-final spot after finishing as the best placed second team.

England scrapped through 17-16 against Argentina while Wales defeated France 13-3, a result which eliminated both teams from a semi-final spot, and ironically opened the door to NZ to snap up the last semifinal place.

South Africa had plenty of possession and created several chances but handling errors and also ferocious defence by Samoa prevented the Junior Boks from a more convincing win.

Dawie Theron, the Junior Springboks coach, said afterwards it was not their most convincing performance: “We must give Samoa credit for making it a huge contest. They battled all the way and made it difficult for us to build momentum.”

He added: “We spoilt three clear cut chances to score, but we would have learnt a lot from this win in very difficult conditions. If you look at the close score between England and Argentina then you can see that the weather definitely played a huge role in the performances of the teams today.”

On the prospect of playing NZ twice in two weeks, team captain Handré Pollard said: “If you want to win the tournament then you must play and be able to win against any team. Our first match against them is history and we will now have to prepare very thoroughly for the semi-finals. We weren’t at our best tonight and the boys know that and we will have to lift our performance for the  semis,” said Pollard.

The Junior Springboks had to come from behind to defeat Samoa, who led 8-7 at halftime thanks to a try by centre Nathaniel Apa and a penalty by flyhalf William Talataina Mu. Number eight Aidon Davis scored for the Junior Boks after several missed opportunities.

South Africa were again strong in the set pieces and particularly in the scrums, where they pushed the physical Samoans often several meters towards their try line. Centre Andre Esterhuizen en wing Sergeal Petersen each scored a try in the second half to secure a hard craft win for the 2012 JWC winners.

Interestingly, this is was the first time the Junior Springboks and Samoa have met since the inaugural JWC tournament in 2008 when South Africa won a bruising encounter 16-11.

Other results:

Ireland beat Fiji 38-0 to qualify for the semi-finals. Australia defeated Italy 29-3, Wales edged France 13-3 while England beat Argentina 17-16.

Semi-final draw for 15 June:

England vs Ireland

Junior Boks vs NZ Under-20

Points scorers:

Junior Springboks: Tries: Aidon Davis, Andre Esterhuizen, Sergeal Petersen; Conversions: Handré Pollard (3).

Samoa: Tries: Nathaniel Apa; Penalty: William Talataina Mu

JWC:Boks pick strongest line-up for Samoa



Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron has selected his strongest available starting line-up for the final Pool C Junior World Championship match against Samoa on Tuesday in Pukekohe.

The match at the Ecolight Stadium will kick off at 07h35 SA time and will be televised live on SuperSport.

Theron has again shuffled his match 23 and retained only six players who outplayed New Zealand 33-24 last Friday in Albany, Auckland.

Hooker Corniel Els, locks JD Schickerling and Nico Janse van Rensburg and number 8 Aidon Davis all played against the NZ Under-20’s and will also start against Samoa.

Amongst the backs, the halfback pairing of JP Smith (scrumhalf) and Handré Pollard (flyhalf and captain) were kept intact while Sergeal Petersen (rightwing) is the only other outside back who will start.

Pierre Schoeman and Wilco Louw return as props, Thabo Mabuza is given a first start at no 6 flank while a fit again Jacques Vermeulen returns at no 7 flank after missing the NZ match with an ankle injury.

Duhan van Merwe will play left wing, Andre Esterhuizen is fully fit again after his head knock against Scotland and therefore starts in the no 12 jersey while Dan Kriel moves from inside centre to no play in the no 13 jersey.

His twin brother, Jesse, moves from outside centre to fullback.

The Junior Boks currently sit in first place with maximum points (10) on top of the Pool C standings after two convincing victories over Scotland and New Zealand.  A point from their final pools fixture against the powerful Samoan outfit will guarantee them qualification for the semi-finals on 15 June.

Theron said the threat of Samoa cannot be taken lightly. “They showed against New Zealand and Scotland they can be dangerous and we have prepared very well for this match. We want to make sure we qualify for the semi-finals and will play our best team because this is now out most important match,” said Theron.

The Junior Springbok coach said his side will be looking to keep maintain the momentum his side has managed to gather during their previous two pool matches.

“We have done our homework very thoroughly and will leave nothing to chance. This is a very tough tournament to compete in so you have to be at your best in each match,” explains Theron.

The Junior Springboks team vs Samoa in Pukekohe is:

15. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

14. Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings)

13. Dan Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

12. Andre Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (SA Sevens contracted)

10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Blue Bulls, captain)

9. JP Smith (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

8. Aidon Davis (EP Kings)

7. Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)

6. Thabo Mabuza (Golden Lions)

5. Nico Janse van Rensburg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

4. JD Schickerling (DHL Western Province)

3. Wilco Louw (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

2. Corniel Els (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

1. Pierre Schoeman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)



16. Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

17. Mox Mxoli (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

18. Dayan van der Westhuizen (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

19. Victor Sekekete (Golden Lions)

20. Cyle Brink (Golden Lions)

21. Zee Mkhabela (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

22. Jean-Luc du Plessis (Cell C Sharks)

23. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)

Pool C Match

Venue: ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe

Kick-off: 07h35 (SA time)

Match officials

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)

Assistant Referee 1: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)

Assistant Referee 2: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

TV Match Official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Junior Boks Injury Update



Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 hooker Arno van Wyk has joined the Junior Springboks in Auckland after a knee injury forced Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions) out of the IRB Junior World Championship.

Marx might be out of action for up to six weeks after he sustained the injury during a training session earlier in the week. The burly Johannesburg-based hooker became the second Junior Bok to be rule out of #JWC2014 after centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg returned home with an ankle injury.

Jean Luc du Preez, who received a nasty blow to the head against New Zealand Under-20 on Friday night, was meanwhile released from hospital during the early hours of Saturday morning.

The flanker was carried off on a stretcher after receiving medical attention on the field. He was taken to a nearby hospital for examination and the scans revealed no damage. Du Preez will now follow the IRB’s Graduated Return to Play Protocol (GRTP).

There were more encouraging news for team coach, Dawie Theron, following a spate of injuries the past week or so. Centre Andre Esterhuizen and flank Jacques Vermeulen should return to training on Sunday after missing the NZ clash through injury.

Esterhuizen has completed his GRTP rehabilitation after leaving the field against Scotland following a bump to the head. Vermeulen hurt his ankle in the same match and also missed the NZ encounter.

On Saturday, Theron said his team will prepare thoroughly for their final group match. “The NZ match is now behind us and we must plan carefully for Samoa, who will no doubt be a huge threat in Pukekohe. Andre and Jacques will come into the selection picture, so I am glad we now have a few more options to choose from,” added Theron.

Earlier in the day the non-playing squad members played their part in a JWC legacy initiative at the Stand Children’s Services in Buckland Beach, Auckland.

South Africa, defending champs England and France are all unbeaten after two matches. Following the final pool fixtures, the three pool winners and the best placed second team will contest the semi-finals on 15 June.

Victor lauds Junior Boks for win



The Junior Springbok win over their All Black counterparts at North Shore Stadium in Auckland on Friday appears to come at just the right time to invigorate the Springboks ahead of the kick-off to the international season.

Speaking at a press conference on the eve of the friendly clash with a World XV at Newlands, Bok skipper Victor Matfield said he had watched the game and he and his teammates had been inspired by the way Handre Pollard’s men had won playing the South African way, with strong set-pieces forming the backbone of their 33-24 win in an IRB Junior World Cup pool game.

“As we saw in that game, the set-pieces are what everything revolves around and if you can get good set-piece ball you are on the front foot and are in a good position to play attacking rugby,” said Matfield.

“What was good about the game was that it showed the work that Rassie Erasmus (SA Rugby Union Performance Director) and Heyneke Meyer are doing in ensuring that all the national teams play the same way. The Junior Boks played with great passion and commitment and it was good to see.”

The South African juniors are getting more used to winning against the Baby Blacks, as they have done so a few times at age-group level over the past few years. However, what was particularly noteworthy from Matfield’s viewpoint was that this game was played in Auckland.

“The more the youngsters win in New Zealand, the more the belief just grows and grows. Every time we win against them, we just grow from strength to strength and get better and better. What was particularly pleasing about this game is that although it was not played at Eden Park, it was played in Auckland. So hopefully that is something that will give these youngsters confidence when they play there in the future and will prove to them that they are capable of winning anywhere.”

Source: SuperSport – by Gavin Rich

JWC-All Blacks 24(17), Springboks 33(14)


Should be the game of the tournament so far as the Junior Boks will take on host New Zeeland in their second pool match in Auckland.

The Boks have suffered an early tournament setback with the injuries of Midfielders Rohan Janse van Rensburg (ankle), Andre Esterhuizen (head blow) and flank Jacques Vermeulen (ankle) were all ruled out of selection because of injuries sustained against the Scots. On Thursday, Golden Lions hooker Malcolm Marx was also ruled out of action for several weeks after he had suffered a knee injury during Wednesday’s evening training session

Junior Boks coach have included powerfully built twins Jesse and Dan Kriel will play alongside each other and patrol the midfield for the Junior Springboks.

The South Africans will complete their Pool C fixtures on 10 June against Samoa.

The Teams:

15. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
14. Lloyd Greeff (Leopards)
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
12. Dan Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
11. Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings)
10. Handré Pollard (captain, Vodacom Bulls)
9. JP Smith (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
8. Aidon Davis (EP Kings)
7. Cyle Brink (Golden Lions)
6. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)
5. Nico Janse van Rensburg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4. JD Schickerling (DHL Western Province)
3. Dayan van der Westhuizen (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
2. Corniel Els (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
1. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)
16. Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
17. Pierre Schoeman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
18. Wilco Louw (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
19. Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
20 Victor Sekekete (Golden Lions)
21 Zee Mkhabela (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
22 Jean-Luc du Plessis (Cell C Sharks)
23 Duhan van der Merwe (SA Sevens contracted)

1 Atunaisa Moli
2 Epalahame Faiva
3 Tau Koloamatangi
4 James Tucker
5 Geoffrey Cridge
6 Tom Sanders
7 Lachlan Boshier
8 Mathew Peni
9 Mitchell Drummond
10 Simon Hickey, captain
11 Tevita Li
12 Jackson Gardon-Bachop
13 Anton Lienert-Brown
14 Vincent Tavae Aso
15 Damian McKenzie

16 James O’Reilly
17 Scott Mellow
18 Timothy Cadwallader
19 Kyle Harris
20 Joshua Dickson
21 Joshua Renton
22 Richie Mo’unga
23 Tauasosi Tuimavave

IRB Interview with Pollard





Pollard talks about winning the Junior World Championship in 2012 and the challenge of playing the Baby Blacks in New Zealand.



Big guns face to face at JWC 2014



From the moment the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 schedule was announced there was one match in particular which jumped off the page, the Pool C battle between four-time champions and hosts New Zealand and 2012 winners South Africa at QBE Stadium on Friday.

The rivalry between the two nations is one of the biggest in world rugby and it is no different at Under 20 level with their last two meetings on the JWC stage having been epic battles, both won by the Junior Springboks.

South Africa had been swept aside 36-7 in the first meeting in the 2010 semi-finals, but they then came out on top 22-16 in the 2012 final played in a cacophony of noise before 35,000 fans at Newlands Stadium. Last year’s third place play-off was equally tight and an 11-try fest which South Africa won 41-34 in France.

Both teams won their opening matches on Monday, South Africa cutting loose in the second half to beat Scotland 61-5 and New Zealand were made to work hard by Samoa and only put the gloss on a 48-12 scoreline with three tries in the final minutes.

Handre Pollard, the South African captain, expects the key battle to be much closer than their day one encounters and knows his side will have to sharpen up on some aspects of their match if they are to make it three wins in a row against the Baby Blacks.

“We weren’t clinical at all the first half at the breakdown so we learned a lot from that and we are definitely going to rectify that during the week because we know the All Blacks will be a big threat at the breakdown,” admitted Pollard.

“We saw their match. Samoa was quite surprising, very good actually. 

A game of patience 

“I think if we can just keep our composure. The kicking game is going to be a big battle against New Zealand, they have got good counter-attack players so if we play smart I think it will be a great game of rugby.

“It will be a lot tighter, it will be more about kicking your penalties and getting points every time you are down in the opposition’s half. I think it will be a patience game and it could be won in the last 10 minutes.

“It will be great for our confidence as a group if we can win. It will make it so much easier going into the last game against Samoa and knowing we only have to get the win to go into the semi-finals and then from there on it is anyone’s game.”

New Zealand coach Chris Boyd admitted after the Samoan win that their “set piece ball was not up to the mark” and they had “some concerns and clearly need to lift our effort” but believes his charges can come out on top.

“I watched the South African game back in the hotel and was very impressed. 

“They are big and physical and they will be a real challenge for this team. We can beat them but we will have to be good. They are pretty much a complete side – physical pack / good nine and 10, big centres and class on the outside.”

Boyd has brought Super Rugby players Tevita Li and captain Simon Hickey into the backline for the South African match and will look for another strong performance from number 8 Matt Peni who carried well in the Samoan match.

Another traditional rugby rivalry will see defending champions England face Australia at 17:35 local time at QBE Stadium, two sides who also picked up bonus point victories on day one in Pool A over Italy and Argentina respectively. 

Australia completed dominated Argentina’s scrum on day one and it coach Rodolfo Ambrosio has replaced his entire front row for the match against Italy, last year’s Junior World Rugby Trophy winners, which kicks off proceedings at QBE Stadium.

Over at the ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe, the Pool C match between Scotland and Samoa will kick-off proceedings, two nations who are familiar with one another having met twice at JWC 2013 in France and shared the honours.

Scotland coach Sean Lineen has rung the changes following the loss to South Africa, but knows the size of the challenge his side will face against a Samoan side buoyed by their performance against the host nation in round one.

“We’re up against a Samoan team who lost heavily to New Zealand but they work hard and they’re pretty physical,” said Lineen. “There are only three of their players who don’t play in New Zealand so we know we’re up against it but the guys are really looking forward to it.”

Six Nations Grand Slam winners France will be looking to make it two matches from two when they face Fiji although will do so without the rested flanker Yacouba Camara, while captain Francois Cros and impressive scrum half Baptiste Serin will both start from the bench.

The other Pool B encounter is an all-Celtic affair with 2013 runners-up Wales looking to build on a 48-19 win over Fiji and take a step nearer to another semi-final, while their opponents Ireland know they need to bounce back from a narrow 19-13 loss to France.

Wales have made three changes to their starting line-up for day two, one of them sees wing Joshua Adams come in for Dafydd Howells who scored what is potentially the fastest try in international rugby after just seven seconds against Fiji. 

“I expect it to be a tight game,” admitted Wales coach Byron Hayward. “Our scrum won us the Six Nations game against the Irish in Athlone and we need to maintain the pressure in that area but we need to try and play some expansive rugby too. 

“Ireland’s scrum has improved, causing problems against the French, and the weather is very good at the moment so the conditions are set be different from that Six Nations game. It was very pleasing to produce a disciplined performance against Fiji and come away with a bonus point, but if we beat Ireland by a point, it will be a job well done.”

JWC:Boks start with big win


 Pollard-001The Junior Springboks opened their IRB Junior World Championship with an impressive 61-5 win over Scotland at the QBE Stadium, North Harbour on Monday.

The South Africans scored nine tries, with good improvement in all phases of play as the match progressed.

Scotland took an early lead with a break-away try after ten minutes, but the Junior Springboks stayed calm and soon reaped rewards for their efforts as first Pierre Schoeman and then Sergeal Petersen crossed the try-line.

Both tries came from a call by captain Handre Pollard, to execute attacking set-plays rather than kicking for poles. The captain, who had a superb match, kicked both conversions to have his side up 14-5 at the break.

“We were not clinical enough in that first half,” the playmaker said afterwards.

“We made to many handling errors, but once the forwards laid the platform for us, the backs could express themselves in the second half,” the captain said.

Express they did in the second half as seven more tries followed.

Pollard started the spark with a great chip and chase that resulted in Lloyd Greeff scoring. More probing play by the flyhalf saw Jesse Kriel crossing the line to score the bonus-point try.

Not to be outdone by the backs, who suffered the loss of centre Andre Esterhuizen due to injury, the forwards rumbled well and kept to their plays and structure. Malcolm Marx scored after good interplay amongst the front row and Aidon Davis also got on the score sheet, but not before Warrick Gelant showed great pace down the blindside for his first JWC try.

A bunch of replacements did not stop the Junior Boks’ momentum and both Kriel and Greeff scored their second five pointers of the evening to cap off a great performance.


South Africa 61 (14). Tries: Pierre Schoeman, Jessie Kriel (2), Lloyd Greeff (2), Malcolm Marx, Sergeal Petersen, Warrick Gelant, Aidon Davis. Conversions: Handre Pollard (7), Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Scotland 5 (5). Try: Jamie Farndale.

Junior Boks hit the turf in Auckland


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The Junior Springboks rugby team completed their first two training sessions on Thursday in Auckland since arriving earlier in the week in New Zealand for the IRB Junior World Championship (JWC).

The JWC2014 takes place from 2 to 20 June in Auckland and surrounding areas, with the Junior Boks up against Scotland on 2 June in their opening fixture.

Cell C Sharks prop Thomas du Toit was especially glad to be part of the training session after he joined up with his SA Under-20 team mates on Tuesday. The front ranker did not attend the training camp back home in Stellenbosch becauseof Vodacom Super Rugby commitments with the Durban franchise.

On finally meeting up with his Junior Springbok team mates, Du Toit said: “I was really looking forward to meet the guys and I’ve heard that there was a very good spirit in the camp. I know quite a few of the boys and they all made me feel welcome and I felt at home from the start,” enthused Du Toit.

He added: “It was a good feeling to finally run onto the training field with the guys. Now we are all looking forward to a few more good training sessions before the tournament kicks off,” according to Du Toit.

The South Africans have settled in quickly into their local surroundings since their arrival. On Wednesday, they spent much of the day busy with recovery activities, which included separate gym sessions for the forward and backs as well as a swimming session.

On Thursday the team had two field sessions at the Cornwall Park fields.

#JWC2014 set for record TV audiences

The seventh annual IRB Junior World Championship kicks off next Monday, June 2 and according to the organisers is set to become the most televised since the tournament began in 2008.

Teams are arriving in New Zealand this week ahead of kick off at the under 20 championship in Auckland.

The pool stages will be played in in Pukekohe and North Harbour Stadium, with the final held in Eden Park on Friday, June 20.

The premier age-grade tournament will be beamed to over 262 million homes across the globe, with a whopping 436 hours of live Rugby shown in over 140 countries.

The under 20 tournament kicks off next Monday, with England out to retain their crown after beating Wales to win the JWC trophy last year.

South Africa won the trophy on home soil in 2012 and this year’s hosts New Zealand won the coveted prize four times between 2008 and 2011.

Pollard to lead Junior Boks



Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Handré Pollard will captain the Junior Springboks at the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship during June in New Zealand, South Africa Under-20 coach Dawie Theron announced on Tuesday.

EP Kings number eight Aidon Davis and Vodacom Blue Bulls fullback Jesse Kriel were confirmed as the two vice-captains. Pollard will be competing in his third consecutive JWC tournament and he brings a wealth of experience to the squad, having made his Junior Bok debut in South Africa’s successful 2012 campaign on home soil, Pollard has delivered consistently good performances for the Vodacom Bulls in their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign. He also recently toured New Zealand and Australia with the Pretoria franchise, which adds to his playing experience.

Theron, the Junior Springbok coach, said Pollard was a natural choice for the role as leader of the team.

“Handré has grown tremendously and made great strides as a player since making his debut for the SA U20’s two years ago. He will no doubt command the respect of his team, both with his ability to dictate play from the fly half position and his natural leadership skills. With the assistance of Aidon and Jesse as vice-captains, I believe we have a very strong leadership core in the group,” explained Theron.

Two years ago, in front of a record crowd for a JWC final, the Junior Springboks beat New Zealand in a pulsating encounter. Last year the team staged a memorable comeback to beat overcome the Kiwis again to secure third spot in France.

Theron said Pollard’s experience of playing in and against New Zealand would be a great benefit to the squad: “Handré has had great success against nations such as New Zealand and England at this level, which is invaluable experience he will bring to his team mates,” added Theron.

Pollard said he was looking forward to representing the Junior Boks in New Zealand. “It’s an honour to represent your country and each time you pull on that jersey is a highlight and special moment. I am thankful for the confidence and leadership role that the coach has entrusted to me and I am looking forward to play in New Zealand with a very special group of players,” said Pollard.

The former Paarl Gymnasium captain could end the tournament as the highest career points scorer in the tournament’s history and also the most capped Junior Springbok at the JWC. Pollard has scored 76 points after playing in two JWC tournament so far, 42 points less than leading tournament points scorer Englishman Tom Homer.

The Junior Springbok completed a 3-0 series win over Argentina at the weekend and the 28-man squad will reassemble at their training camp in Stellenbosch on Sunday.

Baby Springboks clinch series



The Junior Springboks continued their preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 with a hardworking 60-14 victory over Argentina Under-20 on Tuesday afternoon at Stellenbosch.

Last week, the South Africa Under-20 side won the first of three encounter 78-31 in Saldanha Bay. The third and final clash between the two sides takes place on Saturday at 16h00 at the City Park Stadium in Crawford, Cape Town. The Junior Boks piled on 38 points in the second half after leading 22-0 at halftime thanks to tries from captain and fullback, Jesse Kriel, Malcolm Marx (hooker), Cyle Brink (flank) and Dan Kriel (centre).

In the second half, the South Africans added six more tries through Neil Maritz(left wing, 2), Corniel Els (replacement hooker, 2), Jean-Luc du Preez (flank) and Wilco Louw (prop). Dawie Theron, the Junior Boks’ coach, made eleven changes from the side that played in Saldanha.  The visitors also played with much more focus and intensity and the home team had to work hard for each point.

South Africa Under-20 lifted the tempo in the latter part of the second half, when Theron made several changes from the bench. This extra momentum helped the team to finally pull away from Argentina, who threatened with a courageous comeback midway through the second half. Echardt Rodrigo (left wing) and  Schulz German (right wing) scored a try each for the visitors to reduce the deficit at one stage to 34-14. Afterwards, Theron said although he was happy with the second consecutive win, he was however less impressed with the squad’s overall performance.

“We knew they would be much more stronger in the second match, but we made it difficult for ourselves out there. We did not create enough quick ball to release our strong backline, so that is something we will have to work on in the next few days before our last match,” explained Theron. He also worried with the inaccurate goal kicking, which only improved after Jaco van der Walt came on as a second half replacement.

Despite these shortcomings, Theron added: “A huge plus factor is the fact that we could give everyone in the squad a run out during the these two matches. This is vital because some of the players will not be available for the last match because of Vodacom Cup commitments this weekend.”

 The final encounter on Saturday starts at 16h00 at City Park.


Strong Junior Springbok squad for JWC 2014



A Junior Springbok squad bolstered by several players with Vodacom Super Rugby experience was named by SARU in Cape Town on Tuesday for the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand from June 2 to 22.

Handré Pollard (flyhalf, Vodacom Bulls), André Esterhuizen (centre, Cell C Sharks), Sergeal Petersen and Aidon Davis (both Southern Kings) as well as Malcolm Marx (hooker, Lions) have all either played Vodacom Super Rugby or have been part of their respective franchise’s Super Rugby training groups.

The squad also sees the return of several players who did duty for the South Africa Under-20’s in France last year, where they claimed the bronze medal.

Pollard, who also starred in the 2012 tournament, Davis and Jesse Kriel (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls) all played for the Junior Boks in 2013. Winger Petersen, who made an impressive Super Rugby debut for the Kings last year by scoring several stunning tries, was also included in the squad but missed the trip to France because of a hamstring injury.

South Africa Under-20 coach Dawie Theron and the national selectors, Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh, selected the 28-man squad following an intensive identification and trials process. More than 50 players attended the training camp which ran for almost three weeks in Stellenbosch and included two trial matches as well as several training games.

The JWC squad returned to their training base in Stellenbosch on Tuesday to continue their preparations for the tournament. This will include a three-match international series against traditional rivals Argentina from May 2 to 10 in the Western Cape.

Theron said the weather and playing conditions in New Zealand, as well as a tough pool draw, will contribute to a challenging competition. “Our players are used to dry and fast fields and we will encounter the opposite of these conditions in New Zealand. These were obvious factors we had to take into account when selecting the squad,” explained Theron, who led the Junior Springboks to victory at the 2012 JWC on home soil.

He looked forward to working with the finalised squad and said: “We will now intensify our preparations. The series against Argentina will give us an ideal opportunity to test our game plan, readiness and decision-making against a very competitive team and in real match situations.”


Surname Name Province Position
Brink Cyle Golden Lions Flank
Davis Aidon EP Kings No.8
Du Plessis Jean-Luc Cell C Sharks Flyhalf
Du Preez Jean-Luc Cell C Sharks Flank
Du Preez Daniel (Dan) Cell C Sharks Lock
Du Toit Thomas Cell C Sharks Prop
Dweba Joseph Toyota Free State Hooker
Els Corniel Vodacom Blue Bulls Hooker
Esterhuizen Andrè Cell C Sharks Centre
Gelant Warrick Vodacom Blue Bulls Fullback
Greef Lloyd Leopards Wing
Kriel Daniel (Dan) Vodacom Blue Bulls Centre
Kriel Jesse Vodacom Blue Bulls Fullback
Louw Wilco Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Mabuza Thabo Golden Lions Flank
Marx Malcolm Golden Lions Hooker
Mathews Duncan Vodacom Blue Bulls Wing
Mkhabela Mthokozisi (Zee) Toyota Free State Scrumhalf
Mxoli Ngobisizwe Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Nonkontwana Abongile Vodacom Blue Bulls Lock
Petersen Sergeal EP Kings Wing
Pollard Handrè Vodacom Blue Bulls Flyhalf
Schickerling JD DHL Western Province Lock
Schoeman Pierre Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Sekekete Victor Golden Lions Flank
Smith Justin Vodacom Blue Bulls Scrumhalf
Van der Westhuizen Dayan Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Van Rensburg Nicolaas Janse Vodacom Blue Bulls Lock


 The Junior Springboks’ 2014 JWC fixtures:

2 June: SA vs Scotland (North Harbour)

6 June: SA vs New Zealand (North Harbour)

10 June: SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)

15 June: Playoffs (Tbc)

20 June: Finals (Auckland)

SARU trims Junior Boks training squad



The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Friday named a reduced SA Under-20 training squad of 36 players for the remainder of the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship (JWC) training camp following two trial matches in Stellenbosch this week.

An large group of almost 50 players were selected for the camp as SA Under-20 coach Dawie Theron opted to cast his net wide in search of the best players to represent the country at the JWC in Auckland, New Zealand, from May 27 to June 20. This will be the first time the country hosts the JWC tournament. The reduced squad will continue with their activities until April 16 and then enjoy a break over Easter. They will  return to Stellenbosch on April 21, with SARU set to announce the official SA U20 JWC squad of 28 players on April 22.

The national selectors assisted Theron and his coaching team in the selection of the trimmed training group. During their stay in Stellenbosch the expanded training group worked with several members of the SARU Mobi-Unit, while the SA U20 medical and conditioning team conducted a series of medical, fitness and conditioning tests on the players. A handful of top players, including André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard and Jessie Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), did not participate in the trials due to Vodacom Super Rugby and Vodacom Cup commitments.

The intensive training and conditioning scheduled for the remainder of the camp aside, the training group will also play three international friendlies against Argentina. These matches are scheduled for May 2 at the Saldanha Rugby Club on the West Coast, May 6 at the Paul Roos Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch and May 10 at City Park near Athlone in Cape Town. Theron was satisfied with what he saw on offer during the first week of the training camp and said: “This was the first time we were able to get the wider trainer group together, so I would like to thank all the provincial unions for their excellent cooperation.

“I am very excited about the talent that our coaching staff and the national selectors spotted during the two trial matches. We have a lot of depth at Under-20 level, especially if you take into consideration that some players were unable to take part in the trials because of Vodacom Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby commitments,” said Theron. The coach looked forward to the next phase of the training camp, and especially the tough series of matches against Argentina.

“We are extremely happy to keep the training group together for a bit longer, as it will enable us to monitor the players closely as we intensify our preparations for New Zealand,” explained Theron. 

 The 36-man SA Under-20 training squad:

 Vodacom Blue Bulls:

Dan Kriel, Pierre Schoeman, Duncan Mathews, JP Smith, Corniel Els, Wilco Louw, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Abongile Nonkontwana, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Warrick Gelant, Ganfred May, Marcus Kleinbooi, Chris Massyn, Ngobisizwe Mxoli, Marquit September, Leighton van Wyk

 Golden Lions:

Ramone Samuels, Jaco Van der Walt, Jano Venter, Victor Sisekete                      


Lloyd Greef

Toyota Free State:

Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba, Mthokozisi Mkhabela

Cell C Sharks XV:

Gideon Koegelenberg, Chris de Beer, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Daniel du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Cameron Wright, Ayron Schramm

DHL Western Province:

JD Schickerling, Daniel du Plessis, Jarryd Sage, Chad Solomon, Frans van Wyk

The following players were not included in the updated training group due to Vodacom Super Rugby and Vodacom Cup commitments:

Aidon Davis (EP Kings), André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Cyle Brink (Golden Lions), Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), Jan Uys (DHL Western Province), Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Neil Maritz (Cell C Sharks XV), Nico Lee (Toyota Free State XV), Sandile Khubeka (Cell C Sharks XV), Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings), Thabo Mabuza (Golden Lions), Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks XV).

 The full training and events programme for the SA U20’s:

Camp One

Activation:          Training Camp

When:                  31 March – 16 April 2014

Where:                 Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS), Stellenbosch

JWC Squad Announcement

When:                  22 April 2014

Where:                 Cape Town

Camp Two

Activation:          Training Camp

When:                  22 April – 15 May 2014

Where:                 Stellenbosch and Cape Town

SA Under-20 International friendlies vs Argentina Under-20:

02 May                 SA vs Argentina (Saldanha Rugby Club, Saldanha)

06 May                 SA vs Argentina (Paul Roos, Stellenbosch)

10 May                 SA vs Argentina (City Park, Cape Town)

Camp Three

Activation:          Holding Camp

When:                  23 – 26 May 2014

Where:                 Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS), Stellenbosch

Activation:          Capping Ceremony

When:                  25 May 2014

Where:                 Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS), Stellenbosch

Activation:          Squad Departure 

When:                  26 May 2014

Where:                 Cape Town International Airport

IRB Junior World Championship (JWC)

Activation:          Tournament

When:                  27 May – 21 June 2014

Where:                 Auckland, New Zealand

SA Under-20 IRB JWC Fixtures

2 June 2014         SA vs Scotland (North Harbour)

6 June 2014         SA vs New Zealand (North Harbour)

10 June 2014      SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)

15 June 2014      Playoffs (Tbc)

20 June 2014      Finals (Auckland)

Baby Boks whacked by Wales


Luck finally ran out for the henceforth ultra lucky Bokkies when they discovered size matters…

Baby Boks into semi’s


The South African Under-20 team overcame a committed France team in front of their home crowd to record a third successive victory and clinch a place in the Junior World Championship semi-finals with a 26-19 victory (halftime 8-7) in La Roche-sur-Yon on Thursday.

SA U/20 group named for Argentine tour


The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed a 34-man squad on Thursday for the SA Under-20 tour to Argentina in April.

SA U/20 squad named for UWC match


Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron on Thursday named the starting line-up for the SA Under-20 training squad’s match against the University of the Western Cape (UWC), to be played on Friday afternoon at the Markötter Sports Field in Stellenbosch. Kick-off is at 16h00.

Junior Boks training squad named


South Africa Under-20 head coach Dawie Theron on Monday named 34 players for the latest training camp in preparation for the IRB Junior World Championships to be played in France in June. The Junior Springboks will defend the title won in South Africa last year.

Baby Boks gets tough JWC draw


Defending champions South Africa was on Thursday drawn alongside hosts, France, England and the USA when the International Rugby Board and the Fédération Française de Rugby announced the venues, pools and match schedule (attached) for the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France between June 5-23.

Junior RWC final SOLD OUT


The ‘Sold Out’ signs have been put up at Newlands for the Junior Rugby World Cup final between the Junior Boks and Baby Blacks.