Strong SA U20 squad selected for World Champs
April 15, 2010
Vodacom Super 14 newcomers Patrick Lambie and Wandile Mjekevu as well as rising Springbok Sevens stars Branco du Preez and Sampie Mastriet (pictured) were included in a strong SA Under-20 squad that was named on Thursday to take part in the IRB Junior World Championships in Argentina in June.

The team will be captained by the Vodacom Blue Bulls loose forward CJ Stander who was part of the Baby Boks’ 2009 World Championship campaign in Japan. The South Africans finished third after defeating Australia 32-5 in the third place playoff game.

Eighteen players who have been selected in the 26-man squad have been part of the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) High Performance Programmes for the last two years.

Lambie (Sharks) and Mjekevu (Auto & General Lions) are some of the outstanding newcomers to the 2010 Vodacom Super 14. The Sharks fullback played his part in his side’s Vodacom Super 14 away victories over the Hurricanes in Wellington and the Highlanders in Dunedin. Mjekevu (winger) scored a hat trick of tries for the Auto & General Lions in his second Vodacom Super 14 match for the Johannesburg franchise.

The Sharks fullback also represented the SA Schools in 2007 and 2008 while Mjekevu earned his SA Schools colours in 2008. Both players also formed part of SARU’s High Performance Programmes in 2008.

Mastriet scored nine tries on debut for the SA Sevens during the IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide. Du Preez has also been part of the Springbok Sevens’ last two tournaments in Adelaide and Hong Kong.

Several players that competed in this season’s Vodacom Cup, such the Golden Lions centre Jaco Taute and prop Ruan Dreyer; Vodacom Western Province scrumhalf Louis Schreuder, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs flanker Hendrik van der Walt and prop Marcel van der Merwe all made the 26-man squad.

Flanker Sam Mbombo who formed part of the successful Maties squad that recently won the 2010 FNB Varsity Cup also got the nod of approval by the national selectors.

“We don’t want to go to the World Championships and settle for third place again, we want to improve our position as a leading force on the junior international stage,” said SA Under-20 coach Eric Sauls.

“I believe the national selectors have struck a fine balance in their selections; we have players who competed in the Vodacom Super 14, others who have played in the IRB Sevens World Series and we also have a number of our youngsters who have experienced game time in the Vodacom Cup.

“The players know what is expected of them as a South African national rugby team and they will hopefully represent their country with pride.”

The SA Under-20 squad will assemble for a pre-World Championship training camp next month before departing to Argentina on May 30.

SA Under-20 Squad: Brummer Badenhorst, Mlungisi Bali, Sebastian de Chaves, Ruan Dreyer, Christiaan du Randt, Francois du Toit, Branco du Preez, Monde Hadebe, Adri Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Patrick Lambie, Sampie Mastriet, Peet Marais, Sam Mbombo, Frederick Muller, Wandile Mjekevu, Lubabalo Mthembu, Kenechukwu Okafor, Nico Scheepers, Louis Schreuder, CJ Stander (c), Sibusiso Sithole, Jaco Taute, Marcel van der Merwe, Hendrik van der Walt, Francois Venter.

SA Under-20 Team Management: Eric Sauls (Head Coach), Pine Pienaar (Assistant Coach), Nico Serfontein (Assistant Coach), Willem Oliphant (Team Manager), Tim Dlulane (Logistics Manager), Elliot Mntunwekhaya Fana (Technical Assistant), Dr Arthur Williams (Team Doctor), Wayne Hector (Physiotherapist), Graham Bentz (Conditioning Coach), Yusuf Jackson (Media Manager).

SA Under-20 IRB Junior World Championship fixtures:
Saturday, 5 June 2010: SA v Tonga (Parana)
Wednesday, 9 June 2010: SA v Scotland (Santa Fe)
Sunday, 13 June 2010: SA v Australia (Santa Fe)

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