Cape Town - 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 Western Province Institute.
The two teams went hammer and tongs in windy conditions with
the WP youngsters providing SA Under-20 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
“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
“We were without a couple of our core guys, who are playing
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, north of 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 Baby Boks will play three warm-up matches before they
depart for England, against the Golden Lions Under-19s and Under-21s (in
Johannesburg on May 13), Maties (in Stellenbosch on May 17) and South Western
Districts (in Oudtshoorn on May 21).
They depart for England on June 2.