Vodacom Blue Bulls flank Wian Liebenberg will lead a powerful SA Under-20 team at the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 in Cape Town, the South African Rugby Union announced on Tuesday.
SARU named the 28-man squad during a midday media conference held at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.
Vodacom Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen, DHL Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff, MTN Lions lock Paul Willemse, Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock) and Paul Jordaan (centre, both The Sharks) are the five squad members who have all played in the demanding 2012 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
The trio of Jordaan, William Small-Smith (centre) and Tshotsho Mbovane (wing) also boast international experience, having represented the Springbok Sevens in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Several squad members also played Varsity Cup and Vodacom Cup rugby, while Marvin Orie led the Tuks Under-20 team to success in the Varsity Cup Young Guns competition.
Flyhalf Tony Jantjies is the younger brother of Elton, the Springbok pivot. Last week the younger Jantjies helped the SA U20 training squad to 2-0 series win over Argentina.
Dawie Theron, the SA U20 coach, said he was pleased with the squad and confident that the group of promising players will be able to stand up to the challenge of their formidable opponents.
“This is the best available group of players and I am delighted with the composition of the group. We are mindful of the fact that we did not perform to our potential last year, so that, and the fact that we are playing at home will obviously add to the pressure. The JWC is the pinnacle of a young player’s career and they will be determined to give it their best effort in front of our home fans,” added Theron.
The squad assembles on 24 May in Cape Town for a holding camp.
The SA U20 JWC group fixtures are as follow:
Mon 4 June SA vs. Ireland (Danie Craven Stadium, 19h00)
Friday 8 June SA vs. Italy (UWC Stadium, 19h00)
Tue 12 June SA vs. England (Danie Craven Stadium, 19h00)