Coach Chean Roux's charges will focus on their upcoming friendlies against Georgia. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – The Junior Springbok training squad will switch into match mode on Monday when coach Chean Roux’s training squad gathers in Stellenbosch for their fourth training camp as the World Rugby Under-20 Championship draws closer.

The squad will meet Georgia in international friendlies on consecutive Fridays, April 13 and 20, which will be invaluable before the sides cross paths in their opening Championship encounter in the south of France on May 30. 

This camp will be followed by a UK tour from April 30 to May 12 where Roux’s charges will take on Scotland, Wales and England, who are also participating in the international spectacle.

The 35-man training squad includes Muller du Plessis, who will report for duty following his return from the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong World Rugby Sevens Series, and Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse, who will be present for the first week of the camp, although he will not participate in the match against Georgia.

Willemse will join the rest of the squad on Monday after attending the Springbok alignment camp in Vanderbijlpark on Sunday.

“We will enter the next phase of our preparation at this camp as we switch into match mode, which is important with a little over seven weeks to go before the Under-20 Championship kicks off,” said Roux. 

“We focused on putting the structures in place at the last three camps and now our emphasis will be on ensuring that we can implement those structures in match situations.

“Georgia are tough opponents who will challenge us physically and mentally, and that is exactly what we need as we take the next step.”

The SA Under-20s have been drawn in Pool C at the Championship with Georgia, Ireland and France. 

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Players invited to Junior Springbok training camp (April 9-25):

Props: Keagan Glade (Xerox Golden Lions), Leon Lyons (DHL Western Province), Nkosikhona Masuku (Xerox Golden Lions), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions), Sazi Sandi (DHL Western Province), Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province), Tiaan van der Merwe (Xerox Golden Lions)

Hookers: PJ Botha (Xerox Golden Lions), Schalk Erasmus (DHL Western Province), Daniel Jooste (DHL Western Province)

Locks: Ben-Jason Dixon (DHL Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Western Province), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Blue Bulls), PJ Steenkamp (Xerox Golden Lions), Ruan Vermaak (Xerox Golden Lions)

Loose forwards: Phendulani Buthelezi (Cell C Sharks), Ryno Pieterse (Vodacom Blue Bulls), JC Pretorius (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Dian Schoonees (Xerox Golden Lions), Muller Uys (DHL Western Province)

Scrumhalves: Jack Hart (Xerox Golden Lions), Rewan Kruger (Toyota Free State), Zak Burger (Cell C Sharks)

Flyhalves: Lubabalo Dobela (Toyota Free State), Damian Willemse (DHL Western Province)

Centres: Lyle Hendricks (DHL Western Province), Rikus Pretorius (DHL Western Province), Manuel Rass (Xerox Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Xerox Golden Lions)

Outside backs: Muller du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Tyrone Green (Xerox Golden Lions), David Kriel (DHL Western Province), Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions), Sihle Njezula (DHL Western Province), Abner van Reenen (DHL Western Province). 

African News Agency (ANA)

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