Cape Town - The Junior Springbok training squad hit the ground running in searing heat in Bloemfontein on Monday as their second training camp kicked off in the lead-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia.
The training camp, which runs until Sunday, April 9, will feature three warm-up matches, the first on Friday against the Griffons at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom (15:00).
This will be followed by matches against Griquas in Kimberley on Wednesday, April 5 (18:00), and the Free State Cheetahs at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday, April 8 (15:00).
“This camp is very important in our preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux.
“The three warm-up matches will be vital in stepping up our match-fitness, as our focus at training up to now has mainly been on individual skills.
“It will also allow us to test our structures in a match situation, while at the same time giving us a good indication of what the players have to offer.
“Equally importantly, these three matches are only a few days apart, which is very similar to our schedule at the U20 Championship, so it will also serve the purpose of preparing the players for what lies ahead in Georgia.”
Roux was pleased with the players’ attitude since arriving in Bloemfontein and said it bodes well for the side with two months to prepare for their opening match at the tournament against France on May 31.
“We do not have much time left to prepare for the competition, so everything we do at training until then has to count,” said Roux.
“The players realise that. They arrived in Bloemfontein in high spirits and ready to work hard, and every player knows what is expected of him to stake a claim for a place in the 28-man squad for the U20 Championship, which is pleasing.”
Roux will name his squad to travel to Georgia in mid-April. The Junior Springboks will have their third training camp in Stellenbosch from April 18 to May 12, where they will play a further two warm-up matches against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, April 25, and Western Province on Tuesday, May 9 respectively.
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 May 31, June 4 and June 8 respectively.
Players invited to Junior Bok Bloemfontein camp (alphabetical order):
Irvin Ali - Blue Bulls, Juarno Augustus - Western Province, Jaco Bezuidenhout - Blue Bulls, Kwenzo Blose* - Free State Cheetahs, Curwin Bosch** - Sharks, PJ Botha - Golden Lions, David Brits - Western Province, Jean-Luc Cilliers - Golden Lions, Hacjivah Dayimani - Golden Lions, Francois de Villiers - Sharks, Ruben de Villiers* - Western Province, Johan Grobbelaar - Blue Bulls, Wikus Groenewald* - Western Province, Daniel Jooste - Western Province, Leo Kruger - Golden Lions, Rewan Kruger - Free State Cheetahs, Manie Libbok* - Blue Bulls, Gianni Lombard* - Golden Lions, Len Massyn* - Golden Lions, Simphiwe Matanzima - Blue Bulls, Lee-Marvin Mazibuko* - Western Province, Khuta Mchunu - Sharks, Salmaan Moerat - Western Province, Ilunga Mukendi - Sharks, Mashao Mukhari - Blue Bulls, Mfundo Ndhlovu - Sharks, Reinhard Nothnagel* - Golden Lions, Embrose Papier* - Blue Bulls, Yaw Penxe - EP Kings, Manuel Rass* - Golden Lions, Carlu Sadie - Western Province, Wandisile Simelane* - Golden Lions, Cornel Smit - Western Province, Hendre Stassen - Blue Bulls, Gerhard Steenkamp - Blue Bulls, Madosha Tambwe** - Golden Lions, Muller Uys - Western Province, Wayne van der Bank - Golden Lions, Marnus van der Merwe - Free State Cheetahs, Ruben van Heerden - Blue Bulls, Benhard Janse van Rensburg** - Sharks, Boan Venter* - Free State Cheetahs, Cobus Wiese** - Western Province, Damian Willemse** - Western Province, Jondre Williams - Western Province, Courtney Winnaar - Sharks, Nama Xaba* - Western Province
*Denotes Varsity Cup players
**Denotes Vodacom Super Rugby players