Dawie Theron announced his 25-man squad that will compete at the Junior World Championship in Italy in June.
The big names in the squad are Springbok Sevens duo Paul Jordaan and Tshotsho Mbovane, and fullback Jaco Taute, centre Francois Venter, wing Wandile Mjekevu and flank Siyamthanda Kolisi – who were all part of the 2010 squad that finished third in Argentina.
Exciting youngsters in the team are flyhalf Johan Goosen, hooker Michael van Vuuren, wing Courtnall Skosan and flankers Jean Cook and Nizaam Carr. Loose forward Arno Botha will captain the side.
A late withdrawal from the team is scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder, who suffered a leg fracture during a recent camp. His replacement will be named shortly, and will become the 26th player in the squad.
Head coach Theron believes this group is strong enough to better the bronze-finish the Baby Boks have achieved in the past thee seasons.
‘We’re playing five matches in 16 days, so it was important for the national selectors to find a fine balance in their selections. We’ve retained a few players who competed during last year’s Junior World Champs in Argentina which will provide their team-mates with a bit of insight as to what will be expected of them during a tournament like this,’ said Theron.
‘There are a couple of guys who have been exposed to the experience of international rugby after competing in this season’s Sevens World Series. Then there are a number of players who represented their provincial unions in our local competitions – the Vodacom Cup and the Varsity Cup.
‘We’ve won the bronze during the last three Junior World Champs, and one of our goals this season as a team will be to better that record.’
Baby Boks U20 squad:
Backs: Craig Barry (WP), Ulrich Beyers (Bulls), Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), Paul Jordaan (Sharks), Tshotsho Mbovane (WP), Wandile Mjekevu (Lions), Pieter Rademan (Cheetahs), Courtnall Skosan (Bulls), Jaco Taute (Lions), Francois Venter (Bulls), Johan Welthagen (Leopards).
Forwards: Arno Botha (c) (Bulls), Nizaam Carr (WP), Jean Cook (Cheetahs), Cornell du Preez (Leopards), Eben Etzebeth (WP), John Roy Jenkinson (Leopards), Siyamthanda Kolisi (WP), Stephan Kotze (Cheetahs), Francois Kleinhans (Sharks), Mbongeni Mbonambi (Bulls), Nick Schonert (Sharks), Juan Schoeman (Bulls), Michael van Vuuren (Cheetahs), Ruan Venter (Lions).