Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux said his training squad’s preparations this week would include a greater focus on match-specific training to prepare the players for their warm-up games against the central unions from 26 March to 9 April.
The SA U20 training squad assembled in Stellenbosch last week Monday and will wrap up their first training camp on Friday.
The squad will gather in Bloemfontein on Sunday, 26 March, for their second training camp, which features three warm-up matches.
They will face the Down Touch Griffons at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom at 15h00 on Friday, 31 March, before meeting 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.
The Junior Springboks will play two further warm-up matches, against the Varsity Cup Dream Team on Tuesday, 25 April, and DHL Western Province on Tuesday, 9 May, in Stellenbosch during their third training camp, which runs from 18 April to 12 May. “Our focus in the first week of the camp was on skills, conditioning and getting the players to understand what we expect from them in the different aspects of the game through a series of training drills,” explained Roux.
“We will continue to work on that this week, but we also plan to introduce more match-like training to prepare the players for the warm-up matches at the next camp.
“In line with this we have arranged to play chukkas against SA Rugby Academy players on Thursday. This will allow the players to implement that which we have been working on at training in a match situation, and it will offer the coaching team an opportunity to see what the players have to offer.
“This will be vital given the fact that we only have a little over two months to prepare the team for the showpiece.”
The players who played FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, joined the squad in Stellenbosch on Tuesday and will remain in camp until Thursday, while Blitzboks players Zain Davids and Stedman Gans will join the team on Wednesday until the conclusion of the camp following the recent HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Las Vegas and Vancouver.
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 Junerespectively.