SARU have on Friday named a reduced SA Under-20 training squad of 36 players for the remainder of the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship (JWC) training camp following two trial matches in Stellenbosch this week.
A large group of almost 50 players were selected for the camp as SA Under-20 coach Dawie Theron opted to cast his net wide in search of the best players to represent the country at the JWC in Auckland, New Zealand, from May 27 to June 20.
This will be the first time the country hosts the JWC tournament.
The reduced squad will continue with their activities until April 16 and then enjoy a break over Easter.
They will return to Stellenbosch on April 21, with SARU set to announce the official SA U20 JWC squad of 28 players on April 22.
The national selectors assisted Theron and his coaching team in the selection of the trimmed training group.
During their stay in Stellenbosch the expanded training group worked with several members of the SARU Mobi-Unit, while the SA U20 medical and conditioning team conducted a series of medical, fitness and conditioning tests on the players.
A handful of top players, including André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard and Jessie Kriel (Bulls), did not participate in the trials due to Super Rugby and Vodacom Cup commitments.
The intensive training and conditioning scheduled for the remainder of the camp aside, the training group will also play three international friendlies against Argentina.
These matches are scheduled for May 2 at the Saldanha rugby club on the West Coast, May 6 at the Paul Roos Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch and May 10 at City Park near Athlone in Cape Town.
“This was the first time we were able to get the wider trainer group together, so I would like to thank all the provincial unions for their excellent cooperation,” said Theron, who was satisfied with what he saw on offer during the first week of the training camp.
“I am very excited about the talent that our coaching staff and the national selectors spotted during the two trial matches.
“We have a lot of depth at Under-20 level, especially if you take into consideration that some players were unable to take part in the trials because of Vodacom Cup and Super Rugby commitments,” said Theron.
The coach looked forward to the next phase of the training camp, and especially the tough series of matches against Argentina.
“We are extremely happy to keep the training group together for a bit longer, as it will enable us to monitor the players closely as we intensify our preparations for New Zealand,” explained Theron.
The 36-man SA Under-20 training squad:
Dan Kriel, Pierre Schoeman, Duncan Mathews, JP Smith, Corniel Els, Wilco Louw, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Abongile Nonkontwana, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Warrick Gelant, Ganfred May, Marcus Kleinbooi, Chris Massyn, Ngobisizwe Mxoli, Marquit September, Leighton van Wyk
Ramone Samuels, Jaco Van der Walt, Jano Venter, Victor Sisekete
Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba, Mthokozisi Mkhabela
Cell C Sharks:
JD Schickerling, Daniel du Plessis, Jarryd Sage, Chad Solomon, Frans van Wyk
The following players were not included in the updated training group due to Super Rugby and Vodacom Cup commitments:
Aidon Davis (EP Kings), André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Cyle Brink (Golden Lions), Handré Pollard (Bulls), Jan Uys (Western Province), Jesse Kriel (Blue Bulls), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Neil Maritz (Cell C Sharks XV), Nico Lee (Free State), Sandile Khubeka (Cell C Sharks XV), Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings), Thabo Mabuza (Golden Lions), Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks XV).
SA Under-20 IRB JWC Fixtures:
2 June: SA vs Scotland (North Harbour)
6 June: SA vs New Zealand (North Harbour)
10 June SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)
15 June: Playoffs (Tbc)
20 June: Finals (Auckland)