Cape Town - The Junior Springbok training squad will switch into match mode on Monday when coach Chean Roux’s training squad gathers in Stellenbosch for their fourth training camp as the World Rugby U20 Championship draws closer.
The squad will meet Georgia in international friendlies on consecutive Fridays, 13 and 20 April respectively, which will be invaluable before the sides cross paths in their opening World Rugby U20 Championship encounter in the south of France on 30 May.
This camp will be followed by a UK tour from 30 April to 12 May where Roux’s charges will take on Scotland, Wales and England, who are also participating in the international spectacle.
The 35-man training squad includes Muller du Plessis, who will report for duty following his return from the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong World Rugby Sevens Series, and Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse, who will be present for the first week of the camp, although he will not participate in the match against Georgia.
Willemse will join the rest of the squad on Monday after attending the Springbok alignment camp in Vanderbijlpark on Sunday.
“We will enter the next phase of our preparation at this camp as we switch into match mode, which is important with a little over seven weeks to go before the U20 Championship kicks off,” said Roux. “We focused on putting the structures in place at the last three camps and now our emphasis will be on ensuring that we can implement those structures in match situations.
“Georgia are tough opponents who will challenge us physically and mentally, and that is exactly what we need as we take the next step.”
The SA U20s have been drawn in Pool C at the World Rugby U20 Championship with Georgia, Ireland and France.
Players invited to Junior Springbok training camp (9-25 April):
Props: Keagan Glade (Golden Lions), Leon Lyons (Western Province), Nkosikhona Masuku (Golden Lions), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Golden Lions), Sazi Sandi (Western Province), Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province), Tiaan van der Merwe (Golden Lions)
Hookers: PJ Botha (Golden Lions), Schalk Erasmus (Western Province), Daniel Jooste (Western Province)
Locks: Ben-Jason Dixon (Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (Western Province), Ruan Nortje (Blue Bulls), PJ Steenkamp (Golden Lions), Ruan Vermaak (Golden Lions)
Loose forwards: Phendulani Buthelezi (Sharks), Ryno Pieterse (Blue Bulls), JC Pretorius (Blue Bulls), Dian Schoonees (Golden Lions), Muller Uys (Western Province)
Scrumhalves: Jack Hart (Golden Lions), Rewan Kruger (Free State), Zak Burger (Sharks)
Flyhalves: Lubabalo Dobela (Free State), Damian Willemse (Western Province)
Centres: Lyle Hendricks (Western Province), Rikus Pretorius (Western Province), Manuel Rass (Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions)
Outside backs: Muller du Plessis (Sharks), Tyrone Green (Golden Lions), David Kriel (Western Province), Gianni Lombard (Golden Lions), Sihle Njezula (Western Province), Abner van Reenen (Western Province)