More than a dozen players who competed in pre-season Vodacom Super Rugby and Vodacom Cup matches, as well as in the FNB Varsity Cup were selected in the South Africa Under-20 squad that will travel to Argentina to participate in a series of internationals against Argentina in March.
The 30-man squad faces two matches against the Argentina Under-20s as well as against an Argentina XV as part of its preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship which takes place in Italy in June.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls’ Ulrich Beyers (fullback), Courtnall Skosan (wing), Bradley Moolman (centre); together with the Free State Cheetahs fullback Riaan Britz, flyhalf Johan Goosen and scrumhalf Kevin Luiters, and the Golden Lions wing Wandile Mjekevu have all been included in the 30-man squad.
The national selectors have also rewarded UCT Ikeys flanker Nizaam Carr, lock Eben Etzebeth, scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder; as well as Pukke No 8 Cornell du Preez and flyhalf John Welthagen following their consistent performances during the first couple of rounds in the 2011 FNB Varsity Cup.
Players that were not considered due to their involvement with Vodacom Super Rugby and Springbok Sevens commitments are props Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff; hooker Bonga Ntubeni, flanker Siya Kolisi (all DHL Stormers), fullback Jaco Taute (Lions) and Springbok Sevens utility back Paul Jordaan.
Vodacom Blue Bulls centre Francois Venter and Mjekevu represented the Baby Boks at the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship and have also been included in the South Africa Under-20 squad.
“Our scheduled pool opponents at the Junior World Championships – England, Scotland and Ireland – are competing in the RBS Six Nations U20 Championship and will be well prepared,” said Dawie Theron, SA Under-20 coach.
“We want to ensure that the core of our players have experience in competing against international opposition. This tour will be a fantastic opportunity for the players to experience the standard of playing international opposition in different conditions to those they are used to.
“It‘ll also be an opportunity to test certain playing combinations. This will be a great chance to see how our guys front up to the challenge that will be posed by the Argentineans.”
The squad includes five players who were not part of the first camp of the year, because of other playing commitments or have impressed in pre-season matches.
“This squad comprises of individuals who are currently competing in the FNB Varsity Cup, as well players who competed in Vodacom Cup warm up friendlies for their provinces,” said Theron.
“We also have quite a number of players who were part of their union’s Vodacom Super Rugby preparations that will now be joining the squad.”
The SA U20 touring squad assembles in Johannesburg on March 10 in preparation for their departure to Buenos Aires on 13 March 2011.
SA U20 Tour fixtures:
16 March: SA U20s v Argentina XV
19 March: SA U20s v Argentina U20s (First International)
24 March: SA U20s v Argentina U20s (Second International)
SA U20 Squad:
Fullbacks: Ulrich Beyers (Blue Bulls), Riaan Britz (Free State)
Wings: Wandile Mjekevu (Lions), Emil Schwarz (The Sharks), Courtnall Skosan (Blue Bulls), Sizo Maseko (Western Province)
Centres: Francois Venter, Bradley Moolman (Blue Bulls), Micheal van der Spuy (Western Province)
Flyhalves: Johan Goosen (Free State), John Welthagen (Leopards), Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls)
Scrumhalves: Ricky Schroeder (Western Province), Kevin Luiters (Free State)
Loose forwards: Nizaam Carr (Western Province), Marcel Coetzee, Francois Kleinhans (The Sharks), Cornell du Preez (Leopards), Arno Botha (Blue Bulls), Jean Cook (Free State).
Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Western Province), Carl Wegner (Free State), Jose Julies (Blue Bulls), Wilhelm van der Sluys (Western Province)
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi (Blue Bulls), Micheal van Vuuren (Eastern Province)
Props: Juan Schoeman (Blue Bulls), Jon Roy Jenkins (Platinum Leopards), Nicholas Schonnet (The Sharks), Stephan Kotze (Free State)
Players not considered due to involvement with Vodacom Super Rugby and Springbok Sevens: Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Bonga Ntubeni (DHL Stormers), Jaco Taute (Lions), Paul Jordaan