South Africa Under 20 coach Dawie Theron has unveiled the 34 players who will travel to Argentina for a three match tour next month as he looks to fine-tune his preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France.
The warm-up matches between the two countries have become a traditional part of JWC preparations, and the Baby Boks will face their Argentine counterparts in one midweek match and two internationals between 10 and 23 April.
Shortly after their return from South America, Theron will name the 28-man squad that will defend the Junior World Championship title they won on home soil in 2012.
The majority of the tour selections were involved in previous training camps held in Cape Town over the last few months, while Johann Meyer gets his chance after missing JWC 2012 through injury.
Loose forward Aidon Davids and hooker Malcolm Marx are called up for the first time, while Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla and Justin Geduld will aslo travel, having played for the Springbok Sevens team on the HSBC Sevens World Series this season.
Two players not considered for the tour are IRB Junior Player of the Year Jan Serfontein and teenage wing sensation Sergeal Petersen, who will be involved in Super Rugby with the Bulls and Southern Kings respectively. They will, though, be in the mix for the JWC 2013 squad.
Opportunity for squad to bond
“I want the players to really get to know each other,” said Theron. “Argentina is a very tough place to tour because of the physical nature of their style of play and the passion of their rugby supporters.
“It will also be the ideal environment to test major parts of our game plan. It will be tough, but I have no doubt that it will not only test the character of our guys, but also help to bond them as a unit and to make them understand what it takes to hopefully succeed under such foreign conditions.
“We will not change much of our approach or the style of play, which I feel have served us well. It will be a case of polishing our efforts and to focus on the execution of our plans.”
Theron admitted to being pleased with South Africa’s overall preparation for the showpiece from 5-23 June in France.
“There is not much time left after this tour, but I am very happy with our focus and our preparations so far. I think we are on track and I am looking forward to working with this very promising training group.”
South Africa Under 20 squad to tour Argentina
Andrew Beerwinkel, Andries Swanepoel, Dennis Visser, Irne Herbst, Marvin Orrie, Handrè Pollard, Neethling Fouchè, Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Jade Stighling (Blue Bulls); Aidon Davis (Eastern Province); Luan de Bruin, Jacques du Toit (Free State); Albertus Smith, Kurshwill Williams, Malcolm Marx, Jannie Stander, Harold Vorster, Devon Marthinus (Golden Lions); Hanco Venter, Marne Coetzee, Robert du Preez, Stefan Ungerer, Tyler Fisher, Johann Meyer (Kwazulu-Natal); Sylvian Mahuza, Luther Obi (Leopards); Fred Kirsten, Cheslin Kolbe, JP Lewis, Sti Sithole, Jurie van Vuuren (Western Province); Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla (SARU contracted).