South Africa Under-20 head coach, Dawie Theron, has picked a strong match day squad for their World Rugby Under-20 Championship opener against Japan this afternoon.
Of the 23 players, seven have represented different universities in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International while two did duty for the Varsity Shield’s FNB UKZN. The future of South African rugby is also represented by six Young Guns players.
FNB UP-Tuks has the most players in the Junior Bok team to face Japan with seven across all Varsity Cup competitions.
In the starting lineup centre JT Jackson and lock Eli Snyman represented FNB UP-Tuks in the Varsity Cup while prop Jaco Holtzhausen donned FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns colours this season. On the bench, a further four players ran out for FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns this year and they are: hooker Franco van der Berg, prop Jan-Henning Campher, loose forward Denzel Hill and utility back Franco Naude.
FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns head coach, Jaco Pienaar, who orchestrated his team’s title-winning campaign in his first year in charge, is happy for his players that were selected for the opening match.
“I’m glad for our guys. It is a great honour to play for your country and play on the international stage. We are very proud of them,” said Pienaar.
The Junior Springboks face Japan Under-20 on Tuesday, 7 June at the Academy Stadium in Manchester, England. Kick-off is scheduled for 16:15 (SA time) and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
South Africa Under-20: 15. Curwin Bosch (UKZN), 14. S’busiso Nkosi (UKZN), 13. Jeremy Ward (c, NMMU), 12. JT Jackson (UP-Tuks), 11. Mosolwa Mafuma (UFS), 10. Manie Libbok, 9. James Hall, 8. Junior Pokomela (NMMU), 7. Ernst van Rhyn, 6. Zain Davids, 5. Eli Snyman (UP-Tuks), 4. Cobus Wiese, 3. Jaco Holtzhausen (UP-Tuks Young Guns), 2. Tango Balekile (NMMU), 1. Kwenzo Blose (UFS Young Guns).
Replacements: 16. Franco van den Berg (UP-Tuks Young Guns), 17. Jan-Henning Campher (UP-Tuks Young Guns), 18. Carlü Sadie, 19. Ruben de Villiers, 20. Denzel Hill (UP-Tuks Young Guns), 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Franco Naude (UP-Tuks Young Guns), 23. Keanu Vers (NMMU).
By Dan Lombard