Cape Town - After enjoying a training-free day on Thursday, the Junior Boks resumed their World Rugby Under-20 preparations on Friday in Parma, Italy, for their semi-final clash against defending champions England. The evening match takes place on Monday, June 15 in Calvisano.
The South Africans defeated Australia 46-13 in their final group fixture at the same venue two days ago to book their place in the last four. The clash is also a rematch of the 2014 Junior World Championship final, which England won 21-20 after an enthralling battle at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
Coach Dawie Theron gave his entire squad off on Thursday so they could recover from their gruelling schedule, which saw them winning three pool matches in ten days.
According to Theron his medical and conditioning team reported no injuries, apart from the usual bumps and bruises, after the customary check-ups on Friday morning. All 28 players are thus available for selection for the much-anticipated semi-final.
On Saturday morning the squad will have a recovery activity followed by a late training session.
“Our players are in very good shape and I must praise the conditioning and medical staff for doing a sterling job so far. To report no injuries after three matches at such a tough tournament is unbelievable,” said Theron.
According to the coach, the challenge now for them is to keep the players fresh and mentally stimulated.
“The spirit in the camp is very good and we have managed to find a good balance in terms of our preparations. The heat, humidity and travel time between matches meant we had to adjust our activity schedule according to the local conditions.
“The players had a quiet time on Friday and we will have one video session before our team dinner in the evening. It is summer and the days are much longer over here, so you have to strike a good balance between the activities. That means you always have to be mindful of not keeping them busy for too long periods of time,” explains Theron.
The semi-final draw:
New Zealand v France - 18:30
South Africa v England - 20:30
Both semi-finals will be televised live on SuperSport.