The Steval Pumas’ Jimmy Stonehouse will coach the SA President’s XV at the International Rugby Board’s Tblisi Cup in the Georgian capital next month.
The squad of 28 players will travel to Georgia for this new initiative by the IRB as part of its on-going strategy of increasing the competition schedule for Tier Two nations.
The IRB Tbilisi Cup will take place from June 7-16 and apart from the SA President’s XV, will feature Rugby World Cup 2015 hopefuls Georgia and Uruguay, as well as the Emerging Ireland team.
Back-to-back matches will be played on each of the three match days (June 7, 11 and 16) in Tblisi, with the teams competing in a round robin format.
The SA President’s XV will get their campaign underway on June 7 against Uruguay. Their second match, on June 11, is against Emerging Ireland before they finish on June 16 against the host nation, Georgia.
As part of their preparations, the squad will gather in Cape Town on Monday, May 20 for a two-week training camp, which will include a match against the Namibian national team on May 25.
The SA President’s XV squad, chosen by the national selectors, includes 11 players from the Steval Pumas, who topped the log in the North Section and subsequently progressed to the Vodacom Cup final. There are also five players from the Regent Boland Cavaliers, four from the Leopards and Border Bulldogs respectively, two from the SWD Eagles and one each from the Down Touch Griffons and Valke.
“I’m very excited about this squad and I know they will represent South Africa with great honour in Georgia,” said SARU President, Mr Oregan Hoskins.
“It will be a tough tournament in Tblisi. The Georgian and Uruguayan teams will be made up of players with Test experience, while we all know that Ireland have great depth.
“This will be a great experience for Jimmy and his team and widen the breadth of experience for South African players who have aspirations to play at a higher level in our domestic rugby. If they put in the hard work and stick to their strong points, I’m confident they will have a successful tournament.”
They will depart for Georgia on Sunday, June 2.
The squad was selected from the eight provinces in the Absa Currie Cup First Division, but no players involved in any Vodacom Super Rugby squads were considered.
The SA President’s XV squad is:
Carl Bezuidenhout - Pumas, Flyhalf
Alshaun Bock - Eagles, Wing
Renaldo Bothma - Pumas, No 8
Jaco Bouwer - Pumas, Loose Forward
Uzair Cassiem - Pumas, Loose Forward
Marius Coetzer - Pumas, Lock
Ashton Contant - Boland, Hooker/Prop
Ricardo Croy - Boland, Flyhalf
Martin Dreyer - Leopards, Prop
Adriaan Engelbrecht - Leopards, Centre
Ivann Espag - Pumas, Prop
Vincent Gwavu - Valke, Loose Forward
Frank Herne - Pumas, Hooker
Jacquin Jansen - Boland, Fullback
Zandré Jordaan - Boland, No 8
Ntando Kebe - Boland, Scrumhalf
Vincent Koch - Pumas, Prop
Inus Kritzinger - Griffons, Scrumhalf
Wilmaure Louw - Pumas, Centre
Hoffman Maritz - Leopards, Fullback
Khwezilokusa Mkhafu - Border, Prop
Giant Mtyanda - Eagles, Lock
Sinovuyo Nyoka - Border, Scrumhalf
Jerome Pretorius - Pumas, Centre
Joe Seerane - Border, Wing
Brian Shabangu - Border, Loose Forward
Brendon Snyman - Leopards, Lock
Rosco Speckman - Pumas, Wing