The Junior Boks are busy gearing up for the World Rugby U-20 Championship, which will be taking place in Argentina in June 2019. The Junior Springbok Coach, Chean Roux is happy they have the right balance in their squad and South Africans all over the world are looking forward to seeing how the Junior Boks perform.
World Rugby U-20 Championship: A mix of old players and new
The squad will feature four players who took part in the tournament last year – Francke Horn, David Coetzer, Asenathi Ntlabakanye and Phendulane Buthelezi, the captain for this year’s squad. These four players were part of the team that took the bronze medal in 2018 in the south of France.
U20 rugby world cup: A first for South Africa
With Phendulani Buthelezi as captain, he joins current Bok skipper Siya Kolisi a leader of SA’s two most important teams, marking the first time both teams are captained by black South Africans. Buthelezi has represented South Africa at youth level since 2017, when he played in the South African Schools team and the 2017 Under-19 International Series, followed by the 2018 World Rugby Under 20 Championship.
A good mix of players
Coach Chean Roux believes the current Junior Boks team represents a good mix of players who have all featured at different levels of the game – both at junior and senior levels. He said, “We had to make a few tough calls as always, but we had to select the players we thought to have what it takes to compete against the best U 20 players in the world”.
The 28-man squad consists of 16 forwards and 12 backs and includes Angelo Davids, the Springbok Sevens player who played in the Hong Kong and Singapore World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments and Buthelezi’s Sharks teammates Fezokuhle Mbatha (hooker) and JJ van der Mescht (lock). The majority of the team travelled to the UK in April for warm-up matches against England and Wales.
Challenging time ahead
The World Rugby U-20 Championship involves quite a bit of time away from South Africa and is expected to be both demanding physically and mentally. The team is currently working to prepare for Argentina in Stellenbosch and will depart for Argentina on Wednesday 29 May. The Junior Boks will be based in Rosario for the duration of the World Rugby Under 20 Championship.
Their first match will take place on Tuesday 4 June, when they take on Scotland, local time – 15:30, before meeting Georgia on Saturday 8 June local time – 15:30 and New Zealand on Wednesday 12 June local time – 20:30. The semi-finals will take place on Monday 17 June and the final will be held on Saturday 22 June.
Junior Springbok squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship:
- Thaakir Abrahams (Cell C Sharks; utility back)
- Dian Bleuler (DHL Western Province; prop)
- Phendulani Buthelezi (captain – Cell C Sharks; loose forward)
- David Coetzer (DHL Western Province; flyhalf)
- Angelo Davids (SA Rugby contracted; wing)
- Caleb Dingaan (Cell C Sharks; wing)
- Kudzwai Dube (Vodacom Blue Bulls; prop)
- Celimpilo Gumede (Cell C Sharks; loose forward)
- Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks; scrumhalf)
- Francke Horn (vice-captain – DHL Western Province; No 8)
- Vaughen Isaacs (Vodacom Blue Bulls; fullback)
- Hanro Jacobs (Cell C Sharks; prop)
- David Kriel (DHL Western Province; utility back)
- Jaco Labuschagne (Vodacom Blue Bulls; loose forward)
- Elrigh Louw (Toyota Free State; lock)
- Fezokuhle Mbatha (Cell C Sharks; hooker)
- Thabiso Mdletshe (Cell C Sharks; prop)
- JJ van der Mescht (Cell C Sharks; lock)
- James Mollentze (Toyota Free State; utility back)
- Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks; scrumhalf)
- Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions; prop)
- Marnus Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls; utility back)
- Rikus Pretorius (vice-captain – DHL Western Province; centre)
- Dylan Richardson (Cell C Sharks; utility forward)
- Sibusiso Sangweni (Xerox Golden Lions; loose forward)
- Emile van Heerden (Cell C Sharks; lock)
- Dameon Venter (Xerox Golden Lions; hooker)
- Mnombo Zwelendaba (DHL Western Province; centre)
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