Wiaan Liebenberg will lead an experienced Junior Springboks team when they take on Ireland in their opening Pool B match of the IRB Junior World Championship in Stellenbosch on Monday.
Paul Jordaan and Tshotsho Mbovane played in the 2011 global junior showpiece in Italy, while Jordaan, Pieter Steph du Toit, Ruan Botha, Paul Willemse and Steven Kitshoff have all played Super Rugby matches in 2012.
“We have put a lot of focus on our first game against Ireland and I'm happy to say that we were able to pick a team with this match in mind,” said SA Under-20 coach Dawie Theron after naming his team on Sunday.
“We have a good mix of experience and skill and everyone is keen and ready to go.
“It is great to have players with experience of Vodacom Super Rugby available, but the challenge will be for those players to contribute to the Junior Springboks in a constructive way.”
Theron said it would be a huge honour for the team to play in front of home crowds, although that brought its own challenges.
“We realise there will be added pressure because we're playing at home, but we see that as positive pressure,” he said.
“We have a huge opportunity to play in front of familiar crowds and in familiar conditions and we need to make the most of it.”
Liebenberg, who captained the side in warm-up matches against Argentina earlier this year, said the players were ready to go.
“We've worked very hard to get to this point and now it's time to deliver,” Liebenberg said.
“Everyone is keen and ready to go and looking forward to the opportunity and privilege of representing our country against the best age group players in the world.”
SA U-20 team: Dillyn Leyds, Paul Jordaan, Pat Howard, Jan Serfontein, Raymond Rhule, Tony Jantjies, Abrie Griesel, Fabian Booysen, Wiaan Liebenberg, Shaun Adendorff, Pieter Steph du Toit, Paul Willemse, Allan Dell, Mark Pretorius, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Jason Thomas, Oliver Kebble, Ruan Botha, Braam Steyn, Vian van der Watt, Handrè Pollard, Tshotsho Mbovane, Maks van Dyk. – Sapa