The South African Under-20 team to participate in the inaugural IRB World Junior Championships next month in Wales has been announced.
The new tournament, which replaces the traditional Under-19 World Championships, takes place from June 6-22, according to a report on News24.
No less than 16 players who formed part of last year’s SA Under-19 squad, have made their way into the team to be captained by Gerrit-Jan van Velze.
The 26-man squad includes 14 forwards and 12 backs.
The South African selectors have included three players who have played for the Springbok Sevens as well as two youngsters with Super 14 experience.
Juan de Jong, Robert Ebersohn and Wilton Pietersen, were all capped for the Springbok Sevens team earlier this year.
Centre Stephan Dippenaar and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard (both Bulls), are the duo who already boast Super 14 experience.
Free State fullback Pietersen is the current Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year while Golden Lions flank Johan van Deventer, the 2007 SA Under-19 Player of the Year, was also named among the forwards.
In Wales South Africa will contest Pool B with Samoa, Scotland and the United States.
Eric Sauls, the SA Under-20 coach, said his team was looking forward to the challenge in Wales.
“South Africa has a proud tradition at junior international level with many current Springboks having made their name first at this level. Our squad includes the core of the SA Under-19 team of last year that performed so admirably before losing to New Zealand in the final.
“I would like to believe we have a fair amount of continuity and experience in the squad and this will hopefully contribute to our performances.
“We had two training camps and also played against our French counterparts on four occasions this year, so our preparations have been extremely good. The team is looking forward to the tournament and eager to do well,” said Sauls.
SA Under-20 team:
Cecil Afrika, Wilton Pietersen, Omphile Seabela, Vainon Willis, Lionel Mapoe, Robert Ebersohn, Juan de Jongh, Stephan Dippenaar, Stefan Watermeyer, Francois Brummer, Francois Hougaard, Dewaldt Duvenage.
Nick Koster, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Luvuyiso Lusaseni, Johan van Deventer, Thiliphatu Marole, Sabelo Nhlapo, Cornel Hess, Martin Muller, Jean Rossouw, Corne Fourie, Frederick Kirsten, Wiehahn Herbst, Henri Bantjes, Pieter van Vuuren.
Manager: Willem Oliphant
Coach: Eric Sauls
Assistant coaches: Donald Ngwenya, Jerome Paarwater
Technical assistant: Andre Eloff
Doctor: Pierre Viviers
Physiotherapists: Bafana Sihlali, Wayne Hector
Conditioning coach: Graham Bentz