Hoërskool Marais Viljoen will represent South Africa at the Sanix World Rugby Youth Festival in Japan.
The annual U18 tournament runs from 29 April to 5 May and is held at the Global Arena on the island of Kyushu. Former representatives Grey College (2001), Boland Landbou (2002) and Glenwood (2008) have all triumphed in past campaigns.
First XV head coach Werner Janse van Rensburg is confident his team can continue South Africa’s impressive run.
‘Preparations have gone alright for us and we have had some good results so far,’ Janse van Rensburg told keo.co.za. ‘We were disappointed to lose a close game against Glenwood at the Kearsney Easter Festival, but we picked up good wins against Upington and KZN Development.’
Despite selecting a young squad, Janse van Rensburg is confident they can compete well. Out of the 26-man squad, only eight players will be U18 while the rest will be U17.
‘The majority of our players have provincial experience, so we should do well even though it is an international competition. Our eight U18s all played for the Lions junior teams at some stage while six of our other players played in the U16 Grant Khomo week. Four of our other juniors played for the Lions Academy as well.
‘Our star player will be flank Ernst Ladendorf, who is 2m tall and boasts great physicality. Our tight five will also drive us forward.’
By Gareth Duncan