Cape Town - Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux invited two squads of 74 Under-19 and Under-18 players for assessment camps in Stellenbosch in November and January with an eye on preparing for next year’s World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina.
The U19 squad includes 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship players Rikus Pretorius, Asenathi Ntlabakanye and Phendulani Buthelezi, as well as another capped Junior Springbok player, David Kriel, who participated in the team’s warm-up matches in the lead-up to the international spectacle in the south of France earlier this year. The Junior Springboks won the bronze medal in the showpiece this season after defeating New Zealand in the third-place playoff.
More than half of the players in the combined squads represented the SA Schools team in the Under-18 International Series in the last two seasons, with 2018 captain Adrian Alberts and vice-captain Muzi Manyike among them, while seven players represented the SA U18 Sevens team in international tournaments this season. Another player, Henk Cilliers, is currently a member of the SA Rugby Academy Sevens programme in Stellenbosch.
A total of 42 players have been invited to the first assessment for U19s, which will be hosted at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) from Sunday, 11 to Tuesday, November 27 this year, while 32 players have been invited to the U18 camp set to run from Tuesday 15 to Friday, January 18, 2019. Players from both squads will be eligible for selection for the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The Junior Springboks’ preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship include three internationals in Stellenbosch against Georgia on Tuesday, 9 April, Argentina on Saturday, April 13, and the USA on Wednesday, April 17. This will be followed by a UK tour the following week for a three-match tour. The first match on tour will be against the England U20s on Friday, April 26, while the other two fixtures are yet to be confirmed.
“The assessment camps in November and January will offer us a fantastic opportunity to work with the players and assess their skills,” said Roux.
“The players selected for these camps, which includes a number of standout performers that were not part of the previous Junior Elite Player Development camps, are by no means the only players we will look at in the lead-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship. The door is open to any player who puts up his hand to make his way into the squad, as we are only finalising our Junior Springbok training squad in April.”
Roux was excited about hosting the assessment camps several months before the World Rugby U20 Championship and said: “Proper planning is vital in achieving success. This is something the coaches have been talking about for a while, so it is fantastic to have direction on where we are going and what we would like to achieve next season now already.”
Players invited to the Junior Springbok U19 assessment camp:
Props – Dian Bleuler (Western Province), Keagan Glade (Lions), Kudzwai Dube (Blue Bulls), Francois Klopper (Sharks), Nkosikhona Masuku (Golden Lions), Asenathi Ntlabakanye(Golden Lions), James Scott (Sharks)
Hookers – Fezokuhle Mbatha (Sharks), Dameon Venter (Golden Lions)
Locks – Juandre Labuschagne (Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Free State), Janko Swanepoel (Blue Bulls), JJ van der Mescht (Sharks), Deon van Niekerk (Free State)
Loosforwards – Phendulani Buthelezi (Sharks), Vian Fourie (Sharks), Francke Horn (Western Province), Orateng Koikanyang (Blue Bulls), Jaco Labuschagne (Blue Bulls), Mandisi Mthiyane(Golden Lions), Dylan Richardson (Sharks), Mark Snyman (Golden Lions)
Scrumhalves – Vusile Dlepu (Western Province), Sylvester Hassien (Leopards), Sanele Nohamba (Sharks)
Flyhalves – Henry Chamberlain (Sharks), Vaughen Isaacs (Blue Bulls), Christopher Schreuder (Western Province)
Centres – Henk Cilliers (Sharks), Murray Ralf Koster (Sharks), James Henry Mollentze (Free State), Jay Cee Nel (Blue Bulls), Marnus Potgieter (Blue Bulls), Rikus Pretorius (Western Province)
Outside Backs – Thaakir Abrahams (Sharks), Angelo Davids (Western Province), Caleb Dingaan (Sharks), Sabastian Jobb (Blue Bulls), Qamani Kota (Blue Bulls), David Kriel (Western Province), Conan Le Fleur (Sharks), Prince Nkabinda (Golden Lions)
Players invited to the Junior Springbok U18 assessment camp:
Props – Jacobus Herman Agenbag (Free State), Dewald Donald (Blue Bulls), Mthokozisi Gumede (Sharks), Hanru Jacobs (Western Province), Thabiso Mdletshe (Sharks), Banele Mthenjane (Pumas)
Hookers – Morne Brandon (Golden Lions), JJ Kotze (Western Province)
Locks – Adrian Alberts (Western Province), Lunga Ncube (Sharks), Emile van Heerden (Western Province)
Loosforwards – Tristan Dullisear (Golden Lions), Celimpilo Gumede (Sharks), Evan Roos (Western Province), Sibusiso Sangweni (Sharks), Uzile Tele (Border)
Scrumhalves – Ross Braude (Free State), Thomas Bursey (Border), Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks)
Flyhalves – Lloyd April (Boland), Juan Mostert (Western Province), Dylan Pretorius (Sharks)
Centres – Rynhardt Jonker (Sharks), Christie Grobbelaar (Boland), Dawid Kellerman (Western Province), Brendan Venter (Western Province), Mnombo Zwelendaba (Border)
Outside Backs – Diego Appollis (Blue Bulls), Richard Kriel (Free State), Asanda Kunene (Sharks), Muzi Manyike (Golden Lions), Sibabalwe Xamlashe (Border)