The Junior Springboks have named a 43-man squad to take part in a four-day training camp in Stellenbosch.
The squad includes five previously capped players – Salmaan Moerat, Gianni Lombard, Wandisile Simelane, Rewan Kruger and Muller Uys – and 22 former SA Schools players, including prop Keagan Glade, centre Rikus Pretorius and lock JJ van der Mescht.
Another member of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship squad, Damian Willemse, was also invited to the camp, but is on tour with the Stormers.
The camp will be the first of three to take place in Stellenbosch, the last of which will finish on 30 March.
The Junior Boks will also play five international friendlies against Georgia (twice), Scotland, Wales and England in the buildup to the U20 Championship.
Junior Boks coach Chean Roux said he is happy with the preparation that will go into the team’s 2018 campaign.
‘This preparation schedule is ideal to ensure that we arrive in France well prepared both mentally and physically for the U20 Championship,’ said Roux.
‘We had to select a limited number of players for the first camp, so this group is by no means the only players we will be watching.
‘We will continue to keep an eye on other players who perform well, so the group could change as our preparations continue.’
Junior Boks training squad for first camp (20-23 February):
Props: Cabous Eloff (Blue Bulls), Keagan Glade (Golden Lions), Leon Lyons (Western Province), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Golden Lions), Sazi Sandi (Western Province), Mornay Smith (Blue Bulls), Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province), Tiaan van der Merwe (Golden Lions).
Hookers: PJ Botha (Golden Lions), Schalk Erasmus (Western Province), Fezokuhle Mbatha (Sharks).
Locks: Luyolo Dapula (Eastern Province), Ben-Jason Dixon (Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (Western Province), PJ Steenkamp (Golden Lions), JJ van der Mescht (Sharks), Ruan Vermaak (Golden Lions).
Loose forwards: Phendulani Buthelezi (Sharks), Francke Horn (Western Province), Shaine Orderson (Western Province), Ryno Pieterse (Blue Bulls), Erwart Potgieter (Blue Bulls), JC Pretorius (Blue Bulls), Muller Uys (Western Province).
Scrumhalves: Richman Gora (Blue Bulls), Jack Hart (Golden Lions), Rewan Kruger (Free State).
Flyhalves: David Coetzer (Western Province), Lubabalo Dobela (Free State), Johannes Steenkamp (Leopards).
Centres: Lyle Hendricks (Western Province), Rikus Pretorius (Western Province), Manuel Rass (Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Golden Lions), Louritz van der Schyff (Golden Lions), Sango Xamlashe (Free State).
Outside backs: Christian Ambadiang (Western Province), Muller du Plessis (Sharks), Tyrone Green (Golden Lions), Gianni Lombard (Golden Lions), Sihle Njezula (Western Province), Sakoyisa Makata (Western Province), Christiaan Strydom (Blue Bulls).
Junior Boks training camp dates:
Camp 1 – 20-23 February (Stellenbosch)
Camp 2 – 6-9 March (Stellenbosch)
Camp 3 – 27-30 March (Stellenbosch)
Camp 4 – 10-25 April (Stellenbosch)
UK tour – 30 April to 12 May
U20 Champs holding camp – 20-25 May (Stellenbosch)
World Rugby U20 Championship – 30 May to 17 June (France)
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images