TWO of the EP Kings’ brightest young prospects – Aidon Davis and Sergeal Petersen – will be linking up with the Baby Boks training squad in Stellenbosch on Sunday.
The process to select the SA under-20 squad for the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand begins when the expanded training group gathers for an intensive two-month training camp.
Davis and Petersen are both in the Kings Vodacom Cup team to play a Free State 15 in Cradock on Saturday and will leave for the camp directly after the match.
The training group, consisting of almost 70 of the country’s most promising players, will play trial matches on Monday and Wednesday in Stellenbosch.
Following the trials, the squad will be reduced to about 40 players to continue with preparations ahead of the JWC 2014.
The Junior World Championship will be held in Auckland from June 2 to 20.
Dawie Theron, the SA U20 coach and members of the Saru Mobi-Unit, will guide the players through a series of planning, field and conditioning sessions before a short break for the Easter holidays.
Saru will announce the final Baby Bok squad of 28 players on April 22 at a media conference in Cape Town.
Next week’s trial matches will give the players the opportunity to play themselves into contention for selection for the reduced training group before the final JWC squad is selected.
“The gathering of the large group of players will be the culmination of an extensive period of work behind the scenes where we meticulously planned the two-month training camp and identified the large pool of players,” Theron said.
He said he was very pleased with the game time the majority of the players had been afforded so far this season. “Thanks to the excellent relationship and constant communication between Saru and the various provincial coaches, I am pleased with the amount of game time these players have had this season.
“It is a huge improvement from previous years, and hopefully it will count in our favour as we go in search of the title,” Theron said.
André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard and Jessie Kriel (Vodacom Bulls) were not considered for the camp due to Vodacom Super Rugby commitments.
Furthermore, the SA Rugby medical team and their provincial colleagues will continue to monitor the rehabilitation programmes of the following injured players: Kevin Kaba (EP Kings, knee), Ryno Eksteen (WP, knee), Duhan van der Merwe (Blue Bulls, knee), Grant Hermanus (Paarl Gymnasium, hamstring).
The SA U20 World Cup fixtures are:
June 2: SA v Scotland (North Harbour)
June 6: SA v New Zealand (North Harbour)
June 10: SA v Samoa (Pukekohe)
June 15: Playoffs (Tbc)
June 20: Finals (Auckland) – George Byron