SA Schools head coach Chris October says there’s much excitement ahead of his team’s clashes against France, Wales and England.
A strong SA Schools team was announced on Saturday, following a day of trials in Kempton Park. There were two survivours from last year’s group in captain and prop Pierre Schoeman and flank Thabo Mabuza. Baby Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard also makes the 2012 class.
October believed that the best squad was selected.
‘It was a tough, tough selection process as there were 50 talented boys on show,’ October told keo.co.za’s Schoolboy Derby. ‘At the end of the day, the best team was picked. I’m very excited about this team because they gel very well among forwards and backs. The public can expect a strong all-round challenge from this team.’
The SA Schools side will take on U18 teams from France, Wales and England next month. October expects a big test from the European tourists.
‘We will be based at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport from Sunday, which will be huge for us,’ said October. ‘This is where the SA Sevens are based and where the Baby Boks carried out their training. So we will have top-class facilities made available to us.
‘We’ll need it because we’ll come up against tough opposition. I admit, we haven’t seen anything on France, Wales or England. But I’m told they would’ve played six or seven games by the time we face them. So they’ll have the advantage of being a settled outfit.’
28-man SA Schools squad
Forwards: Aidon Davis (EP), Daniel du Preez (KZN), Jean-Luc du Preez (KZN), Francois Esterhuizen (Boland), Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls), Gideon Koegelenberg (Boland), Wilco Louw (Boland), Thabo Mabuza (Blue Bulls), Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions), Ox Nche (Free State), Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls), JD Schickerling (WP), Pierre Schoeman (Blue Bulls , c) Chad Solomon (WP), Dayan van der Westhuizen (Blue Bulls), Jano Venter (Pumas).
Backline: Ryno Eksteen (Blue Bulls), Warrick Galant (SWD), Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls), Jesse Kriel (KZN), Sandile Khubeka (KZN), Jurie Linde (Blue Bulls), Matjikinyane Molapo (Blue Bulls), Sergeal Petersen (EP), Justin Phillips (Blue Bulls), Handre Pollard (Western Province, vc), Akhona Sihunu (Border), Duhan van der Merwe (SWD).
Head Coach: Chris October (WP)
Team Manager: David Coert (Boland)
SA Schools fixtures
France – Wellington (10 August)
Wales – George (14 August)
England – Cape Town (18 August)
By Gareth Duncan