A total of 11 Blue Bulls players have been named in South Africa’s 26-man squad for next month’s IRB Junior World Champs in Japan.
Springbok Sevens star and Free State centre Robert Ebersohn will lead a squad which includes three players – Francois Brummer, Cornel Hess and Ebersohn himself, who represented the country at last year’s tournament in Wales.
Nick Koster, who was part of the squad last year, and would have been a likely candidate for the captaincy, missed out on selection due to injury.
‘We have selected a very strong squad with the intentions of winning the World Cup,’ said coach Eric Sauls.
‘This will be one of the most gruelling tournaments especially considering the fact that a team like Australia have nine Super 14 players in their squad. But we have selected a squad that includes the best Under-20 players in the country.
‘Our skipper Robert Ebersohn has been one of the stand-out players for the Springbok Sevens teams while Gerhard van den Heever has also played Super 14 rugby with the Bulls this year.
‘From this squad, we can select a side that can play an exciting brand of rugby and also be defensively strong as well. We also have on the management team, Nico Serfontein who coached the Blue Bulls to Vodacom Cup success last year, as well as Deon Davids, who coaches the Boland Absa Currie Cup side.’
The team will play a training match against Boland on Wednesday as part of their final preparations for the tournament, before departing for Japan on 31 May.
SA Junior World Champs Squad – Clayton Blommetjies (Blue Bulls), Zane Botha (Blue Bulls), Francois Brummer (Blue Bulls), David Bulbring (Golden Lions), Tendayi Chikukwa (Blue Bulls), Kyle Cooper (Natal), Lionel Cronje (Free State), Ross Cronje (Natal), Sias Ebersohn (Free State), Robert Ebersohn (Free State), Nicolaas Hanekom (Western Province), Yaasir Hartzenberg (Western Province), Cornel Hess (Blue Bulls), Morne Mellet (Blue Bulls), Jan Andre Marais (Natal), Sampie Mastriet (Blue Bulls), Kenechukwu Okafor (Natal), Caylib Oosthuizen (Golden Lions), Coenrad Oosthuizen (Free State), Rudy Paige (Golden Lions), Julian Redelinghuys (Natal), Johann Sadie (Western Province), Marnus Schoeman (Blue Bulls), Omphile Seabela (Blue Bulls), Christiaan Stander (Blue Bulls), Gerhard van den Heever (Blue Bulls).