Dawie Theron’s SA Under 20 training squad will reassemble in Stellenbosch today as they continue their preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship later this year; Sharks utility back Paul Jordaan will not be among their number this time around, however.
In a sign that Sharks fans will consider encouraging, Jordaan has been released from Baby Bok duty this time around in order to concentrate on his Super Rugby pre-season commitments; this is generally a pretty sure indication that his franchise have opted to hang onto him, which again could be a sign that he features prominently in the plans for the upcoming season. This may, of course, be jumping to conclusions, but if the Sharks coaches were only using Jordaan to hold tackle bags at this point, surely they would have let him go to the camp?
A number of other players have been ruled out due to similar reasons, including Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), Ruan Venter (Lions) and Steven Kitshoff (Stormers). Still more are missing due to injury, including Craig Barry, Tshotsho Mbovane (both WP) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks).
Ruwellyn Isbell, a new Bulls recruit who played SA Schools rugby in the Free State last year, has been called up as cover for Barry, with no other new faces in the 32-man group. Jordaan would have been the Sharks’ only backline representative, had he been there, but the KZN Union is, as always, well represented at forward. Under 19 skipper Allan Dell remains in the mix, along with front row team mates Maks van Dyk and Franco Marais, while the dynamic loose forward duo of Siseko Jafta and Khaya Majola have also again made the cut.
Two trial matches will be played during the two week camp, against Ikeys on 21 January and then Maties on the 28th.
The revised SA Under-20 training squad is:
Fullback: Marais Schmidt.
Wings: Travis Ismail, Jan de Klerk, Ruwellyn Isbell.
Centres: Jan Serfontein, William Small-Smith, Mathys Smit, Kobus van Wyk.
Flyhalves: Tony Jantjies, Errol Jaggers.
Scrumhalves: Kevin Luiters, Rudi van Rooyen, Hlanhla Hlungwane, Vian van der Walt.
Loose forwards: Shaun Adendorf, Wian Liebenberg, Fabian Booysen, Khaya Majola, Siseko Jafta, Cobus Nel.
Locks: Ettiene Oosthuizen, Paul Willemse, Ruan Botha, Jacques du Plessis.
Props: Marzuq Maarman, Gideon Muller, Allan Dell, Nicolaas van Dyk.
Hookers: Jason Thomas, Mihlali Mpafi, Mark Pretorius, Franco Marais.