The focus may be firmly on the RBS Six Nations in Europe, but with the IRB Junior World Championship 2011 just over 100 days away South Africa coach Dawie Theron has selected a squad to play against their Argentina Under 20 counterparts next month.
This is the third year in succession that the two nations have faced each other in the build up to the prestigious Under 20 tournament, Argentina’s tour to South Africa last March resulting in a 39-7 win for the Baby Boks and a 20-20 draw.
Theron has selected a 30-man squad for the three match tour to South America, which will see them face an Argentina XV on 16 March, followed by the two internationals against Los Pumitas on 19 and 24 March.
A number of players involved in their province’s Super Rugby warm up matches have been included, as have five players who have caught the selector’s eyes in the early rounds of the Varsity Cup.
However, Theron has been unable to consider six players due to their involvement in either Super Rugby or the Springbok Sevens team, including Paul Jordaan who helped the latter win the USA Sevens in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Stomers flanker Kolisi and Lions full back Taute both played at JWC 2010 in Argentina when the Baby Boks finished third for the third year in succession, as did Wandile Mjekevu and Francois Venter who will travel to South America.
“Our scheduled pool opponents at the Junior World Championship – England, Scotland and Ireland – are competing in the RBS Six Nations U20 Championship and will be well prepared,” explained Theron.
“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.”
South Africa Under 20 squad for Argentina tour
Forwards: Nizaam Carr (Western Province), Marcel Coetzee, Francois Kleinhans (The Sharks), Cornell du Preez (Leopards), Arno Botha (Blue Bulls), Jean Cook (Free State), Eben Etzebeth (Western Province), Carl Wegner (Free State), Jose Julies (Blue Bulls), Wilhelm van der Sluys (Western Province), Bongi Mbonambi (Blue Bulls), Micheal van Vuuren (Eastern Province), Juan Schoeman (Blue Bulls), Jon Roy Jenkins (Platinum Leopards), Nicholas Schonnet (The Sharks), Stephan Kotze (Free State).
Backs: Ulrich Beyers (Blue Bulls), Riaan Britz (Free State), Wandile Mjekevu (Lions), Emil Schwarz (The Sharks), Courtnall Skosan (Blue Bulls), Sizo Maseko (Western Province) Francois Venter, Bradley Moolman (Blue Bulls), Micheal van der Spuy (Western Province), Johan Goosen (Free State), John Welthagen (Leopards), Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls), Ricky Schroeder (Western Province), Kevin Luiters (Free State).
Not considered for selection: Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Bonga Ntubeni, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Taute and Paul Jordaan.