The South African Under-20 team will face up to Varsity Cup champion teams, FNB UCT and FNB Maties, as part of their preparation for next year’s IRB World Championships which takes place on home soil.
The South African Under-20s will get together at the brand new Stellenbosch Academy of Sport on January 16, 2012.
The camp will include two training matches – against the Ikeys (Saturday, January 21) and the Maties (Friday, January 27), who have won all four Varsity Cup titles between them – before the players depart on January 28.
Meanwhile, former schoolboy stars William Small-Smith and Craig Barry, who are both contracted to the Springbok Sevens team, have been included in a squad of 33 players for the South African Under-20 training camp in Stellenbosch in January.
Small-Smith recently played in the Dubai leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, while Barry, who played in the Junior World Championships in Italy earlier this year, has been part of Paul Treu’s wider Springbok Sevens training squad for the last year.
“William and Craig have been part of the Sevens set-up since we got together for the first time in Kimberley last month, so by inviting them to our next camp, we will have a proper opportunity to assess them and get them up to speed in our structures,” said SA U20 head coach Dawie Theron.
“Paul Jordaan, who played for the SA U20s earlier this year and has also been in the Springbok Sevens mix, will get game time in our two pre-season warm-up matches against Ikeys and Maties. While he was at our last camp in Stellenbosch, he did not take part in the training sessions because of injury, but he’ll most likely be fit to play in January.”
Of course, SA U20 coach Theron will rely heavily on the all-new Varsity Young Guns tournament as he looks to assemble the best young talent South Africa has to offer.
Speaking earlier this year – when the students-only Young Guns tournament was first announced – an excited Theron commented: “This really is wonderful news!
“The northern hemisphere teams have their own Six Nations tournament – running parallel with the senior Six Nations tournament – and I’ve always felt we needed something like this ahead of the IRB World Champs which takes place before our local provincial tournaments kick-off.
“My job is not just about coaching the SA Under-20 team, but also about unearthing new, young talent and a tournament like this can only benefit South African rugby on the whole. I’m very grateful to the Varsity Cup for allowing this – it’s great news for junior rugby in South Africa!”
The SA Under-20 training squad:
Fullbacks: Craig Barry, Marais Schmidt
Wings: Travis Ismail, Jan de Klerk, Paul Jordaan
Centres: Jan Serfontein, William Small-Smith, Mathys Smit, Kobus van Wyk
Flyhalves: Tony Jantjies, Errol Jaggers
Scrumhalves: Kevin Luiters, Rudi van Rooyen, Hlanhla Hlungwane, Vian van der Walt
Loose forwards: Shaun Adendorf, Wian Liebenberg, Fabian Booysen, Khaya Majola, Siseko Jafta, Cobus Nel
Locks: Ettiene Oosthuizen, Paul Willemse, Ruan Botha, Jacques du Plessis
Props: Marzuq Maarman, Gideon Muller, Allan Dell, Nicolaas van Dyk
Hookers: Jason Thomas, Mihlali Mpafi, Mark Pretorius, Franco Marais
with thanks to varsitycup.co.za