Stormers lock to lead Junior Boks in France

    2018-04-30 10:14

    Cape Town - Salmaan Moerat will lead a Junior Springbok squad featuring seven players who participated in the World Rugby U20 Championship last year, from May 30 to June 17 in the south of France.

    Moerat, who established himself as a captain for the SA Schools team in 2016, will have the support of Damian Willemse, Wandisile Simelane, Muller Uys, Gianni Lombard, Rewan Kruger and Daniel Jooste, all of whom were members of the 2016 SA U20 squad that won the bronze medal in Georgia. 

    Adding to this experience, Willemse has been the Stormers’ preferred flyhalf this season, while Moerat also made his Super Rugby debut, and utility back Muller du Plessis represented the Springbok Sevens team in the World Rugby Sevens Series. 

    In total, 22 of the players in Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux’s 28-man squad also have junior international experience having represented the SA Schools or SA Schools A teams in the U18 International Series, while every player with the exception of lock Ruan Vermaak – who is recovering from a knee injury – featured in the warm-up matches against Georgia. 

    "This is a talented squad with solid international experience, and we are confident in their abilities," said Roux. 

    "We had to make a few tough calls, especially after the matches against Georgia, but we believe we have a squad worthy of competing against the best U20 teams in the world. 

    "One can never underestimate the value of playing international rugby at any level, so we are pleased that most of the players have worn the green and gold before for both the Junior Springboks and the SA Schools sides."

    Roux spoke highly of Moerat.

    "Salmaan is a born leader. He led the Western Province U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week team and the SA Schools team, and he did so with distinction," he said. 

    "He has been equally influential at our training camps since the squad gathered in February, and all of the players have immense respect for him, so he was the natural choice as the captain." 

    The Junior Springboks will continue their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship with a three-match tour to the UK, following their 48-23 and 55-14 victories against Georgia, who they will face in their opening pool match at the World Rugby U20 Championship. 

    The SA U20s will meet Scotland in Edinburgh on Friday, May 4, Wales in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 8, and England in London on Friday, May 11 on tour. They depart for the UK on Monday evening. 

    The team has been drawn in Pool C at the World Rugby U20 Championship alongside Georgia, Ireland and France.  

    Junior Springbok squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship:

    Zak Burger - Sharks, scrumhalf

    Ben-Jason Dixon - Western Province, lock

    Lubabalo Dobela - Free State, flyhalf

    Muller du Plessis - Sharks, utility back

    Schalk Erasmus - Western Province, hooker

    Tyrone Green - Golden Lions, wing

    Jack Hart - Golden Lions, scrumhalf

    Lyle Hendricks - Western Province, centre

    Daniel Jooste - Western Province, hooker

    Cohen Kiewit - Golden Lions, prop

    Rewan Kruger - Free State, scrumhalf

    Gianni Lombard - Golden Lions, fullback

    Nathan McBeth - Golden Lions, prop

    Salmaan Moerat (captain) - Western Province, lock

    Sihle Njezula - Western Province, wing

    Ruan Nortje - Blue Bulls, lock

    Asenathi Ntlabakanye - Golden Lions, prop

    Rikus Pretorius - Western Province, Centre

    Manuel Rass - Golden Lions, centre

    Sazi Sandi - Western Province, prop

    Dian Schoonees - Golden Lions, loose forward

    Wandisile Simelane - Golden Lions, centre

    PJ Steenkamp - Golden Lions, looseforward

    Alulutho Tshakweni - Eastern Province, prop

    Muller Uys - Western Province, loose forward

    Tiaan van der Merwe - Golden Lions, Prop

    Ruan Vermaak - Golden Lions, lock

    Damian Willemse - Western Province, flyhalf

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