Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux is expecting a challenging World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in Argentina after the SA Under-20s were drawn in Pool C with New Zealand, Scotland and Georgia for the international showpiece, which takes place from 4 to 22 June.
The SA U20s will be based in Rosario and kick off their campaign on against Scotland on Tuesday, 4 June, before taking on Georgia (Saturday, 8 June) and New Zealand (Wednesday, 12 June) in the pool stages. The semi-finals will be contested on Monday, 17 June, and the final on Saturday, 22 June.
World Rugby announced the fixtures on Thursday. Australia will meet Italy in the opening match of the tournament on Tuesday 4 June, in Sante Fe, where six-times champions, New Zealand, will meet Georgia, and England take on Ireland.
Argentina, the hosts in 2019, will meet Wales, while defending champions, France, will face newly promoted, Fiji, in the two other matches scheduled for Rosario.
“New Zealand, Georgia and Scotland are all quality teams, so we are expecting another testing campaign,” said Roux.
“We defeated New Zealand in the bronze playoff in the south of France last year, so they will be charged up against us.
“Georgia is a very physical and passionate team, with a strong scrum and big forwards, while Scotland also prides themselves on their physicality. After having faced Scotland last year on our warm-up tour, they will also be determined to make a strong statement against us.”
Roux added: “Argentina has a rich culture and a deep passion for rugby, and it will be exciting for the players to experience that first hand. It is going to be a tough tournament, but we are very excited.”
World Rugby Vice-Chairman and Rugby Americas President Agustín Pichot said: “The U20 Championship has proven itself to be a very important competition for the uncovering and development of the future stars of our game and attracting new, young fans to the sport.
“The 2018 edition of the U20 Championship in France was an outstanding success and it is a great honour for Argentina to take the pass and host this prestigious competition.
“The 12 participating nations will experience a warm Argentinian welcome and we look forward to an excellent tournament with enthusiastic fans and spectacular action on the field of play.”
Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship pool fixtures (SA kick-off times):
Tuesday, 4 June (15h30): SA v Scotland (Racecourse Stadium, Rosario)
Saturday, 8 June (15h30): SA v Georgia (Racecourse Stadium, Rosario)
Wednesday, 12 June (20h30): SA v New Zealand (Racecourse Stadium, Rosario)