South Africa Under 20s will play two “vital” matches against their Argentina counterparts in April as they start to step up their quest to win a first IRB Junior World Championship title on home soil from 4-22 June.
The series has become an annual fixture between the two nations in recent years, the Baby Boks having hosted Argentina in 2011 and travelled to South America the year before, and provides the last opportunity to fine-tune preparations for JWC 2012.
Los Pumitas will arrive in Cape Town on 9 April and play three matches during the tour, two against the South Africa U20s and the other an invitational side comprising mostly of South African Under 19 players.
South Africa have already played trial matches against Varsity Cup sides Ikeys and Maties back in January during a two-week training camp and will be eager to ensure they do not see their JWC title dreams dashed again in the pool stages.
The Baby Boks have been drawn in Pool B with England – the side that ended their semi-final dreams in 2011 – as well as Ireland and Italy. Only the pool winner is guaranteed a place in the semi-finals with the best runner-up across the three pools completing the quartet who will fight for the title.
“These matches will be vital in terms of our overall preparations,” admitted South Africa Under 20 coach Dawie Theron, who guided the Baby Boks to fifth in 2011. “The Argentine squad will provide us with good opposition and we will also use the entire training camp a full dress rehearsal for the JWC tournament.
“For instance, we will stay at the same hotel and use the same training ground (as we will during the tournament) and our daily programme will be structured to mirror that of an actual JWC programme.”