The Junior Springbok training squad hit the ground running in searing heat in Bloemfontein on Monday as their second training camp kicked off in the lead-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia.
The training camp, which runs until Sunday, 9 April, will feature three warm-up matches, the first on Friday against the Down Touch Griffons at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom at 15h00.
This will be followed by matches against the Tafel Lager Griquas in Kimberley at 18h00 on Wednesday, 5 April, and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at 15h00 at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday, 8 April.
“This camp is very important in our preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux.
“The three warm-up matches will be vital in stepping up our match-fitness, as our focus at training up to now has mainly been on individual skills.
“It will also allow us to test our structures in a match situation, while at the same time giving us a good indication of what the players have to offer.
“Equally importantly, these three matches are only a few days apart, which is very similar to our schedule at the U20 Championship, so it will also serve the purpose of preparing the players for what lies ahead in Georgia.”
Roux was pleased with the players’ attitude since arriving in Bloemfontein and said it bodes well for the side with two months to prepare for their opening match at the tournament against France on 31 May.
“We do not have much time left to prepare for the competition, so everything we do at training until then has to count,” said Roux.
“The players realise that. They arrived in Bloemfontein in high spirits and ready to work hard, and every player knows what is expected of him to stake a claim for a place in the 28-man squad for the U20 Championship, which is pleasing.”
Roux will name his squad to travel to Georgia in mid-April. The Junior Springboks will have their third training camp in Stellenbosch from 18 April to 12 May, where they will play a further two warm-up matches against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, 25 April, and DHL Western Province on Tuesday, 9 May respectively.
The SA Under-20s will face France, Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 31 May, 4 June and 8 June respectively.