Springbok coach gives SA Under 20s a boost

(IRB.COM) Friday 11 May 2012
 Springbok coach gives SA Under 20s a boost
Heyneke Meyer and Rassie Erasmus had positive words for the South Africa Under 20 team this week - Photo: Gallo Images

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has tipped South Africa's Under 20s to do well in the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 on home soil in June after paying the squad a visit during their latest camp in Langebaan earlier this week.

Meyer, busy preparing for his first series as Springbok coach against England, was joined by Rassie Erasmus, who has recently been appointed as General Manager for High Performance at the South African Rugby Union.

A few members of the squad have already attended Meyer's Springbok planning camps in recent weeks, including centre Pat Howard, prop Oliver Kebble and second row Pieter Steph du Toit, and the national coach was quick to let the players know he is keeping an eye on their progress.

“It was wonderful to get to meet the next generation of South African stars at their camp in Langebaan and I really appreciated the invitation from Dawie and his team,” said Meyer. “I truly believe we have exceptionally talented rugby players in this country and the squad assembled by Dawie is testimony to that.

“I know each and every player selected by Dawie and the national selectors and I know their capabilities. They will do well at the Junior World Championship in South Africa if they keep focus on the task at hand.

Future Springboks

“It is also not impossible that many of these youngsters will feature for the Springboks in the next couple of seasons. We’ve already had an opportunity to work with some of these players at our planning camps and that, along with our visit to Langebaan, has given me great hope for the future.”

According to Theron, it was hugely beneficial for his squad to have the national coach attend their camp.

"Internationally it's standard practice that head coaches and high performance managers of national teams works closely with their junior structures, and it was great that Heyneke and Rassie spent time with the players and management," said Theron.

“To have Heyneke and Rassie come out to visit us, was really good for the entire squad. I spent some time with the Boks at the Cape Town planning camp last week and now they came to visit us – I think this kind of mutual cooperation only bodes well for rugby in South Africa.”

Erasmus added: “I used to play with Dawie and Brendan (Venter) and also worked with Brendan and Nazeem (Adams) at coaching level. We had some great discussions and threw ideas around of where we could assist them and how they can also help us at the Boks.”

South Africa will face Ireland, Italy and England in the pool stages of the IRB Junior World Championship, which runs from 4-22 June in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Only the Pool B winner is guaranteed a place in the semi finals and South Africa will be determined to better their fifth place finish of 2011.