Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was pleased with the Under-18 assessment camp hosted in Potchefstroom last week as the SA U20 management team continued with the groundwork for the World Rugby U20 Championship, which will be hosted in Argentina in June.
A total of 32 players were invited to the four-day camp, which included a number of last year’s AON U18 International Series squad members, including captain Adrian Alberts and vice-captain Muzi Manyike.
This camp followed on the successful U19 assessment camp hosted in Stellenbosch in November.
Players from both squads will be eligible for selection for the World Rugby U20 Championship, which will be hosted in Rosario and Santa Fe.
“The U18 assessment camp went very well,” said Roux. “We worked on the basic principles in terms of our structures, and it was pleasing to see how the players reacted to the on-field demands after such a long break. It is definitely a promising group of players.
“As with the U19 camp, one of the main objectives was to get to know the players, and for them to work with us and experience first-hand what is expected from them at this level.”
Roux said the next step would be for his coaching team to decide which players to invite to the SA Rugby Academy, which runs from Sunday, 3 February, too late April, which will double up as an opportunity to begin working with the players, as all the SA Rugby Academy players will be eligible for selection for the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The SA Rugby Academy programme will feature three training camps from February to April, and according to Roux, the squads could vary over the course of the programme.
“The squads that will be invited to the training camps are not fixed, so the door is not closed to anyone trying to play their way into the World Rugby U20 Championship squad,” said Roux. “We will only select our U20 Championship squad in April after our warm-up matches against Georgia and Argentina, so there is a long way to go before we finalise the group.”
The matches against Georgia and Argentina will be hosted in Stellenbosch on Tuesday, 9 April, and on Saturday, 13 April, respectively.