Phendulani Buthelezi will captain the 28-man Junior Springbok side at the World Rugby U20 Championships in Argentina.
Buthelezi will lead the team, while centre Rikus Pretorius and No 8 Francke Horn will serve as vice-captains.
The 28-man squad – consisting of 16 forwards and 12 backs – also includes Springbok Sevens player Angelo Davids, who played in in the Hong Kong and Singapore World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments, and Buthelezi’s Sharks’ Vodacom Super Rugby teammates Fezokuhle Mbatha (hooker) and JJ van der Mescht (lock).
All of the players in the squad, with the exception of Davids, Dian Bleuler (prop), Vaughen Isaacs (fullback), David Coetzer (flyhalf), David Kriel (utility back), Elrigh Louw (lock) and Mnombo Zwelendaba (centre) travelled with the team to the UK last month for the warm-up matches against England and Wales.
Coetzer, Kriel, Louw and Zwelendaba all ran out for the side in the U20 International Series in April against Georgia, Argentina and the Namibia XV.
‘We selected a squad that show a good mix of players who have featured at a few different levels of the game, both at junior and senior level, as well as a number of talented young players,’ said coach Chean Roux.
‘We had to make a few tough calls as always, but we had to select the players we thought to have what it takes to compete against the best U20 players in the world.’
Roux was confident about his core leadership group, and said: ‘Phepsi and Rikus were both members of our squad that played in France last year, so they know exactly what to expect on the field, as well as off the field.
‘The tournament involves a fair bit of time away from home, and it is demanding on the players both physically and mentally, so it will be good to have leaders who can prepare their teammates for this in advance.
‘Francke also led the team with distinction in the role of both captain and vice-captain during our warm-up matches, and we are equally confident in his abilities as a leader.’
Roux’s team will wrap up their preparations for the international showpiece at their base in Stellenbosch in the next three weeks, with the team departing for Argentina on Wednesday 29 May.
The semi-finals will be contested on Monday 17 June, and the final on Saturday 22 June.
Junior Springbok squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship:
Thaakir Abrahams (Cell C Sharks; utility back)
Dian Bleuler (DHL Western Province; prop)
Phendulani Buthelezi (captain – Cell C Sharks; loose forward)
David Coetzer (DHL Western Province; flyhalf)
Angelo Davids (SA Rugby contracted; wing)
Caleb Dingaan (Cell C Sharks; wing)
Kudzwai Dube (Vodacom Blue Bulls; prop)
Celimpilo Gumede (Cell C Sharks; loose forward)
Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks; scrumhalf)
Francke Horn (vice-captain – DHL Western Province; No 8)
Vaughen Isaacs (Vodacom Blue Bulls; fullback)
Hanro Jacobs (Cell C Sharks; prop)
David Kriel (DHL Western Province; utility back)
Jaco Labuschagne (Vodacom Blue Bulls; loose forward)
Elrigh Louw (Toyota Free State; lock)
Fezokuhle Mbatha (Cell C Sharks; hooker)
Thabiso Mdletshe (Cell C Sharks; prop)
JJ van der Mescht (Cell C Sharks; lock)
James Mollentze (Toyota Free State; utility back)
Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks; scrumhalf)
Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions; prop)
Marnus Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls; utility back)
Rikus Pretorius (vice-captain – DHL Western Province; centre)
Dylan Richardson (Cell C Sharks; utility forward)
Sibusiso Sangweni (Xerox Golden Lions; loose forward)
Emile van Heerden (Cell C Sharks; lock)
Dameon Venter (Xerox Golden Lions; hooker)
Mnombo Zwelendaba (DHL Western Province; centre)
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images