South Africa announces squad for home-based World Rugby U20 Championship


The South Africa Junior Springbok squad for the upcoming World Rugby Under-20 Championship, set to be held in Cape Town, was unveiled on Friday, with Zachary Porthen named as the team captain.

Porthen, who will anchor the scrum at prop, leads a squad of talented young players eager to make their mark on the international stage.

Apart from Porthen, four other players return to the tournament, having featured in last year’s edition on home soil. JF van Heerden joins Porthen in the forwards, while Asad Moos, Jurenzo Julius, and Litelihle Bester bolster the backline with their experience.

Coach Bafana Nhleko expressed the challenges faced in finalizing the 30-man squad, highlighting the high level of commitment and competition among the training group.

“We had to make some tough decisions to select what we believe is the best squad for the competition,” Nhleko explained. “I commend all the players for their dedication and sacrifices.”

The squad reconvened this week to commence preparations following their participation in the U20 Rugby Championship in Brisbane last month. Reflecting on their experience, Nhleko emphasized the tournament’s value in preparing them for the upcoming challenges. “We grew as a group and identified areas for improvement,” he noted.

South Africa finds itself in Pool C alongside tough opponents Fiji, Argentina, and England. With France defending their title from last year’s tournament in Cape Town, the Junior Boks aim to build on their bronze medal performance in 2023.

The championship kicks off on June 29 across DHL Stadium and Athlone Stadium, with subsequent pool matches scheduled for July 4 and 9. Playoffs, including the semi-finals and finals, will take place on July 14 and 19, respectively.

The Junior Springboks begin their campaign against Fiji on June 29 at DHL Stadium, followed by clashes against Argentina in Stellenbosch on July 4 and England at Athlone Stadium on July 9.

As the Junior Springboks gear up for the challenge ahead, South African rugby enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the team’s performance on home turf, hopeful for a successful campaign in the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Junior Springbok squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship:

Props: Casper Badenhorst (Vodacom Bulls), Liyema Ntshanga, (Toyota Cheetahs), Reno Hirst (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Zachary Porthen (captain, DHL Western Province), Ruan Swart (Vodacom Bulls).

Hookers: Ethan Bester (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Luca Bakkes (DHL Western Province), Juan Smal (Vodacom Bulls).

Locks: Adam de Waal (DHL Western Province), JF van Heerden (Vodacom Bulls), Thomas Dyer (Hollywoodbets Sharks).

Loose forwards: Batho Hlekani (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Divan Fuller (DHL Western Province), Keanu Coetsee (Vodacom Bulls), Sibabalwe Mahashe (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Thabang Mphafi (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Tiaan Jacobs (Biarritz).

Scrumhalves: Asad Moos (DHL Western Province), Ezekiel Ngobeni (DHL Western Province).

Flyhalves: Liam Koen (Vodacom Bulls), Tylor Sefoor (Toyota Cheetahs).

Centres: Bruce Sherwood (DHL Western Province), Joshua Boulle (DHL Western Province), Jurenzo Julius (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Philip-Albert van Niekerk (Vodacom Bulls).

Outside backs: JC Mars (DHL Western Province), Joel Leotlela (DHL Western Province & SA Sevens), Litelihle Bester (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Likhona Finca (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Michail Damon (Vodacom Bulls).

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