The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Saturday announced the 28-man Coca-Cola SA Schools squad that will feature in an Under-18 International series in August.
The squad was chosen by a panel featuring national selectors Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh, the SA Schools selectors led by convener Henkie Green, and SA under-20 coach Dawie Theron following the conclusion of the 50th Coca-Cola Craven Week in Polokwane.
The team will meet England at City Park Stadium in Cape Town on August 9, followed by clashes against France in George on August 13 and Wales in Wellington on August 17. An Italian Under-18 squad will also feature in a series against the Western Province, Boland and SWD Coca-Cola Craven Week teams in August.
Nine players in the squad named were part of the SA Schools class of 2012 that registered a clean-sweep of victories against their European counterparts. These players are Jurie Linde, Justin Phillips, Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls), Ox Nche (Free State), twins Jean-Luc du Preez and Daniel du Preez (KZN), Duhan van der Merwe, Warrik Galant (SWD) and JD Schickerling (WP).
Schickerling and Galant, however, were forced to withdraw from their Craven Week teams due to injury, but will be available for selection for the international clashes.
Chris October from Western Province will again assume the position of head coach, with the Griffons' Roean Bezuidenhoudt assisting. David Coert from Boland has retained the position as team manager.
“We are pleased with the quality of the squad selected,” said SARU’s convener of national selectors Peter Jooste.
“That said I must admit it was tough selecting only 28 players because there were several other talented players in the mix. But unfortunately there will always be a few unlucky players.”
Jooste also used the opportunity to praise the high quality of rugby played in the tournament this year.
“The standard of the Coca-Cola Craven Week certainly improved this year,” said Jooste. “In terms of the quality of rugby played it was definitely one of the better tournaments, and it was particularly encouraging to see a few teams such as the Pumas, Zimbabwe and Namibia raise their game.”
SA Schools squad 2013:
Forwards: Rikus Bothma (Western Province), Daniel du Plessis (Western Province), Daniel du Preez (KZN), Jean-Luc du Preez (KZN), Thomas du Toit (Western Province), Joseph Dweba (Golden Lions), Ruan Kramer (Free State), Thabani Mtsi (Border), Ox Nche (Free State), Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls), Refuoe Rampeta (Free State), JD Schickerling (Western Province), Francois Steyn (Blue Bulls), PJ Toerien (Blue Bulls), Jacques Vermeulen (Western Province), Conraad van Vuuren (Mpumalanga)
Backs: Daniel du Plessis (Western Province), Remu Malan (SWD), Warrik Galant (SWD), Grant Hermanus (Western Province), Dewald Human (SWD), Malcolm Jaer (Eastern Province), Jurie Linde (Blue Bulls), Justin Phillips (Blue Bulls), Brandon Thompson (Mpumalanga), Duhan van der Merwe (SWD), EW Viljoen (Free State), Leolin Zass (Boland).