Nineteen (19) players who were selected to the SA Schools team for 2010 have been included in the 32-man South African Under-18 High Performance Squad which will compete in a series of international friendlies later this month.
The SA Under-18s will assemble in East London on Monday 12 July in preparation of their first friendly against France which takes place on Friday 16 July at the Buffalo City Municipality Stadium (13h25). The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport Two (SS2).
They will also host a Namibia Invitational XV in George on July 20 (15h20) before wrapping up their High Performance programme in Port Elizabeth on July 23 against the England Under-18s (Live on SS2 from 13h20).
Up front, the entire SA Schools starting forward pack was included in the High Performance group while Wiaan Liebenberg and Neethling Fouche who were named amongst the reserves for the National Schools side have also made the 32-man cut.
SA Schools captain William Small-Smith and his centre partner Andile Jho have been added to the SA U18 squad while fullback Craig Barry and flyhalf Johan Goosen have also been included in the group. These four backline players were also part of last year’s High Performance squad who competed in international friendlies against France and Namibia.
The U18 group will be headed by Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu and SA Under-20 coach Eric Sauls. The SA Schools’ coaches - AJ Mercuur (Boland) and Janse van der Ryst (Griquas Country Districts) have also been added to the four-man coaching team.
Treu and Sauls have been added to the U18 coaching team to identify any potential players that could possess the talent to go on and represent the Bok Sevens in future IRB Sevens World Series or possibly compete in the IRB Junior World Championships with the Baby Boks.
“SARU has established a number of High Performance squads with the intentions of affording our junior players the opportunity of competing against international teams,” said SARU High Performance Manager Herman Masimla.
“This programme was initiated to prepare potential players who could one day represent the SA Under-20 side in the IRB Junior World Championships or to compete in the IRB Sevens World Series with the Springbok Sevens. This squad was identified by our national selectors who attended the recently held Coca-Cola Youth Weeks while also considering the Under-18 players from tertiary institutions and rugby clubs.
“This Under-18 group will also have the added incentive of progressing to the SA Under-19 squad next year. We are already in the process of arranging international friendlies against the French and Argentinean Under-19 teams.
“These structures have been put in place to ultimately ensure that we produce the finest junior rugby players in the world.”
SA U18 High Performance international fixtures:
Friday, 16 July 2010 SA v France East London (13h25) – Live on SS2
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 SA v Namibia George (15h20)
Friday, 23 July 2010 SA v England Port Elizabeth (13h25) – Live on SS2
SA Under-18 High Performance squad:
Backs – Craig Barry, Richard Collins, Leroy Bitterhout, Johan Goosen, Patrick Howard, Ruwellyn Isbel, Muhammad Ismail, Siseko Jafta, Andile Jho, Paul Jordaan, Kevin Luiters, William Small-Smith, David Schmidt, Syviwe Soyiswaphi, Tshotsho Mbovane, Rudi van Rooyen.
Forwards – Ruan Botha, Fabian Booysen, Allan Dell, Neethling Fouche, Hendrik van der Walt, Neill Jordaan, Steven Kitshoff, Wiaan Liebenberg, Khaya Majola, Ettienne Oosthuizen, Tshepo Motale, Sikumbuzo Notshe, Charles Thomas, Jason Thomas, Ruan Venter, Justin van Wyk.