An extended Junior Springbok training group concluded a very successful first training camp on Monday in Stellenbosch to kick-start the defending champion’s preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship next year in France.
South Africa Under-20 coach, Dawie Theron, who guided the team to JWC honours in June on home soil, said he was very satisfied with the outcome of the first exercise.
The large group of players assembled on Friday morning at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport and, apart from medical examinations and field sessions, also took part in several trial matches on Saturday and earlier on Monday.
Theron again invited four Under-19 provincial coaches to attend the camp, who assisted him throughout the four days.
“We involved the Under-19 coaches last year and it worked really well for us. We have now built an excellent foundation and I can honestly say that we are already reaping the rewards of this system.
“Together with the national selectors, the provincial coaches help us throughout the season to identify and monitor promising players. We are constantly in communication with each other and they have formed an integral part of our system of early identification and player monitoring,” explained Theron.
After a good look at the new crop of young hopefuls during the past few days, Theron said he is satisfied and excited of the prospects to work with another group of talented young rugby players.
“There’s obviously a long way to go, but the selectors, our team management and the provincial coaches are in agreement that this was a very good trial process and that we saw some really good talent on show,” added Theron.
Next step in the preparation process is the selection of 36 players from the large training group for a second training camp, to be held from 2 to 11 December at Stellenbosch.
This will then be followed by a series of training matches between the SA Under-20 training squad and the three Cape-based universities, namely the Universities of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.
South Africa will play JWC hosts, France, England and IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 winners USA in Pool A next year.
The confirmed list of SA Under-20 training matches for early next year, are:
18 Jan: vs. UWC in Bellville-South
22 Jan: vs. Maties at venue tbc
26 Jan: vs. Ikeys at venue tbc