Gelant, Jackson in Baby ‘Bok squad for World Cup

JT Jackson
JT Jackson

Vodacom Blue Bulls No.8 Hanro Liebenberg will skipper the 28-man squad during the three-week tournament from June 2 to 20.

Liebenberg led the Junior Boks to a thrilling win over the Varsity Cup Dream Team last month and also captained them when they clinched a 2-0 series win over the Argentina Under-20 side in Rosario last Saturday.

The squad, which was chosen by the national selectors, consists of 16 forwards and 12 backs, and includes six players who featured in last year’s tournament in New Zealand. (Last year England edged the young South Africans by a single point in a memorable final at Eden Park in Auckland.)

Warrick Gelant
Warrick Gelant

Jean-Luc du Preez (flank), Thomas du Toit (prop, both Cell C Sharks), Joseph Dweba (hooker, Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Abongile Nonkontwana (lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jacques Vermeulen (loose forward, DHL Western Province) and Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls) are the players who will represent the Junior Boks for a second successive year.

The Junior Springbok squad shows four changes from the touring group that returned from Argentina on Monday evening.

Lock RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls) got the nod to travel to Italy after he sat out the Los Pumitas series because of an ankle injury.

DHL Western Province utility back EW Viljoen and Blue Bulls flyhalf Tinus de Beer, who also did not tour Argentina, were both selected for the Italian job; Viljoen’s selection taking the overally tally of Province players to nine – despite flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg (who toured Argentina) missing out on selection.

Joining Viljoen in the mix are fellow DHL WP U21 stars, forwards Rikus Bothma (a late addition to the tour party to Argentina), Frans van Wyk and Vermeulen and backs Daniel du Plessis, Grant Hermanus, Khanyo Ngcukana, Brandon Thomson and Leolin Zas.

The Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, who were selected for the 2014 tournament, are also members of the 28-man squad. Dan, however, withdrew days before the team left for New Zealand last year because of a shoulder injury.

According to Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron, the squad “is a well-balanced selection”.

“I think we have selected a well-balanced squad with the prospect of some really good combinations,” he explained.

“Although we expect dry weather conditions for the tournament, we have to take into account that all our group matches will be played at night. This is where your combinations will play an important role.”

Theron – who coached the SA U20s to title-winning success in 2012 – added: “We have had a good training camp behind us, culminating in a successful tour of Argentina. We will now conclude our preparations with two more sessions on Monday and Tuesday.”

* The Junior Boks will assemble on Sunday for their final training camp in Stellenbosch.

They will have field sessions next Monday and Tuesday at the Paul Roos Markotter Stadium, with the capping ceremony scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening. The squad will fly out to Italy next Wednesday afternoon.

SA’s Pool B fixtures at the U20 World Championship in Italy are as follows:

Tuesday, June 2
20h30 – SA v Italy (in Calvisano)

Saturday, June 6
18h30 – SA v Samoa (in Parma)

Wednesday, June 10
20h30 – SA v Australia (in Calvisano)

The Junior Springbok squad for the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy is as follows:

Forwards (16):
Hyron Andrews (Cell C Sharks)
Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province)
Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks)
Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)
Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)
Joseph Dweba (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
Njabulo Gumede (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Jason Jenkins (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls – captain)
Mzamo Majola (Cell C Sharks)
Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
Abongile Nonkontwana (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Jan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Frans van Wyk (DHL Western Province)
Jacques Vermeulen (DHL Western Province)

Backs (12):
Tinus de Beer (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Daniel du Plessis (DHL Western Province)
Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Grant Hermanus (DHL Western Province)
JT Jackson (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings)
Marco Jansen van Vuren (Xerox Golden Lions)
Khanyo Ngcukana (DHL Western Province)
Brandon Thomson (DHL Western Province)
Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
EW Viljoen (DHL Western Province)
Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)

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