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Coach Roux names Junior Boks squad to play in U20 World Championship in Georgia

By Marc Jacobson - May 4, 2017
Coach Roux names Junior Boks squad to play in U20 World Championship in Georgia

South African Under-20 Head Coach, Chean Roux, named his 28-man squad on Wednesday for the World Rugby U20 Championship held in Georgia in the beginning of June.

Playing in his third U20 Championship, since outing for the Junior Boks for the first time in 2015 when he was still in matric at Paarl Gym, flanker Ernst van Rhyn has been named captain.

Van Rhyn was also captain on his debut year in 2015, before being appointed vice-captain behind former Grey High representative, Jeremy Ward, in 2016. Ward is now over-aged and is currently playing his trade for the Sharks’ Super Rugby side.

“It is a huge honour to be named captain for the Junior Springboks again in 2017 and for me and the rest of the team, having this opportunity to represent the country is definitely something special,” van Rhyn said.

“So far, preparations have gone well, we have really been tested in training, but it made us better players at the end of the day. We are now just really excited for the World Championship and we hope to make the country proud,” he added.

Curwin Bosch, the current Sharks’ flyhalf pivot and also a former Grey High matriculant, has also been included in the Junior Boks’ squad. Bosch played in the same Grey High 1st XV side as Ward in 2014, and are now coupled together in the current Sharks’ fold.

After having numerously played at fullback in the past, Roux proclaimed that they will use Bosch at fly half, despite his competition in Damian Willemse, who starred both at school rugby level – representing the SA Schools side in 2016, and in the warm-up games leading up to the team announcement.

“If all goes well, Curwin will be joining us on Sunday; I did speak to both him and Rob du Preez [Sharks Head Coach],” Roux said.

“I think at this stage, we see him as a number 10, but we are pleased with the quality of players in our squad and we believe the team has the potential to go all the way in the competition,” he added.

Roux admitted that they had to make some tough calls to narrow the squad down to 28, but that the group will be reaping much confidence heading into the world showpiece.

One shock omission, though, was Zaire-born (formerly known as the Democratic Republic of Congo), Madosh Tambwe, who has so far sparkled for the high-flying Lions in the Super Rugby, but could not be selected due to citizenry ineligibility.

“Madosh is a great player, but the problem with him is that he is not eligible to play for South Africa, because of his passport, and that is something that takes time to sort out. It is in the hands of SARU, and time just ran out so we couldn’t pick him” Roux said.

Apart from van Rhyn and Bosh, there sees six other players who also represented the Junior Boks in 2016, namely: Kwenzo Blose, Carlu Sadie, Zain Davids, Stedman Gans, Manie Libbok and Embrose Papier.

Additionally, apart from Willemse, five other players who outed for the SA Schools’ side last year have been included in the squad, namely: Salmaan Moerat, Gianni Lombard, Rewan Kruger, Wandisile Simelane and Daniel Jooste.

Four of the squad members were schooled in the Eastern Cape, namely: Bosch (Grey High), Yaw Penxe (Queens College), David Brits (Selborne College) and Johan Grobbelaar (Nico Malan).

Full squad: Juarno Augustus (Western Province), Kwenzo Blose (Free State Cheetahs), Curwin Bosch (Sharks), David Brits (Western Province), Jean-Luc Cilliers (Golden Lions), Zain Davids (Western Province), Francois de Villiers (Sharks), Stedman Gans (Blue Bulls), Johan Grobbelaar (vice-captain, Blue Bulls), Wikus Groenewald (Western Province), Daniel Jooste (Western Province), Rewan Kruger (Free State Cheetahs), Manie Libbok (Blue Bulls), Gianni Lombard (Golden Lions), Len Massyn (Golden Lions), Lee-Marvin Mazibuko (Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (Western Province), Reinhard Nothnagel (Golden Lions), Embrose Papier (Blue Bulls), Yaw Penxe (EP Kings), Carlu Sadie (Western Province), Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions), Hendre Stassen (Blue Bulls), Gerhard Steenekamp (Blue Bulls), Ruben van Heerden (Blue Bulls), Damian Willemse (Western Province), Nama Xaba (Western Province), Ernst van Rhyn (captain, Western Province).

South Africa U20 play their first game against France U20 on the 31st of May.

Image: Ernst van Rhyn running out for the Junior Boks as captain in 2015