Sixteen youngsters have been selected to join the Green and Gold training squads in preparation for next Saturday’s Springbok Showdown.
The young players – drawn largely form the ranks of the Junior Springboks – will spend the week in camp with the two respective squads before returning to their provinces to begin the inter-provincial U21 championships.
‘This is a great opportunity for these youngsters to get a taste of the Springbok environment and equally an opportunity for the national coaches to get an insight into some of the top emerging talent in the country,’ SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.
‘There may even be an opportunity for one or two of them to get some match action if there is an injury or Covid-related issue during the week, but the main objective is to continue the process of national alignment.’
Erasmus, in partnership with Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids, picked two national teams – Green and Gold – for a once-off ‘Test’ to resume the South African season at Newlands on Saturday, 3 October.
The teams feature the 50 best players in the country, including 13 Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks, who will prepare in separate bio-bubble environments in Cape Town with the support of the Young Guns.
‘These youngsters have had their year completely disrupted by the pandemic. But we have not stopped tracking them or planning for their future and they will find out that we have a road map already prepared for their further development,’ Erasmus explained.
Green Young Guns – Nathan McBeth (Lions), Kudzwai Dube (Lions), Morne Brandon (Lions), JJ van der Mescht (Sharks), Evan Roos (Sharks), Pepsi Buthelezi (Sharks), Bernard van der Linde (Vodacom Bulls), Mnombo Zwelindaba (Western Province).
Gold Young Guns – Kwenso Blose (Western Province), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Lions), Fez Mbatha (Sharks), Emile van Heerden (Sharks), Celimpilo Gumede (Sharks), Muller Uys (Vodacom Bulls), Thomas Bursey (Western Province). Kade Wolhuter (Western Province).
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images