The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has named 20 players to attend the second SA Sevens Under-17 training camp in preparation for the team’s participation at the Australian Youth Olympics in January in Sydney.
The initial squad of 32 players was trimmed down to 20 players and these youngsters will assemble at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports (SAS) on Friday evening for a three-day training camp. The first get together was from 10 to 13 October, also as SAS.
Included amongst the 20 names are three players who are invited for the first time and who will undergo medical and fitness training, in addition to joining the rest of the group for field sessions. They are Jigsy Molapo (Limpopo Blue Bulls), TJ Goddard (DHL Western Province) and Brendan Pelsar (MTN Golden Lions).
Following this training camp, a final squad of 12 players will be selected to play as the SA Sevens Under-18 team in the Australian Youth Olympics. The selectors will also name two non-travelling reserves to be on standby.
The final squad will assemble on 8 January in Stellenbosch before flying out of Cape Town on 12 January.
According to former Springbok Sevens star Marius Schoeman, who will coach the team, the large group of 30 players were identified at the 2012 Coca-Cola Under-16 Grant Khomo Week, as well as the recent @lantic Under-18 Interprovincial Sevens tournament.
“This squad forms part of the SARU Elite Player Development programme, which aims to identify, develop and monitor promising young players at an early age,” said Schoeman.
“We tested the players, provided them with training and nutritional programmes and will track and monitor their progress. Even if they don’t end up playing Sevens, the experience gained will still be of great value to them and ultimately benefit South African rugby.”
The SA Sevens U17 training squad is: Jigsy Molapo (Limpopo Blue Bulls), Lungelo Gosa (Border), Peet Schoeman (Eastern Province), Pieter Labuschagne, Gerhardus Labuschagne (Falcons), EW Viljoen, Marius Louw, Michael Andrade, Carel Durow (Free State), Christoff Venter, Innocent Radebe, Brendan Pelsar (Golden Lions), Siphamandla Ngcobo (KwaZulu-Natal), Willandre Kotzenberg (Mpumalanga), Warrick Gelant, Duhan van der Merwe, Remu Malan (SWD), Ryan Oosthuizen, Dennis Cox, TJ Goddard (Western Province).