Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was satisfied with the progress made by his training squad this week as they wrapped up their second camp in Stellenbosch on Friday.
The Junior Boks are preparing for the World Rugby U20 Championship in the south of France from 30 May to 17 June. The players will have two weeks off before assembling In Stellenbosch for their last short camp from Tuesday 27 to Friday 30 March.
Roux’s main objectives going into this week’s camp were to build momentum as the international spectacle draws nearer and to get a better insight into which players have what it takes to stake a claim for spots in the final 28-man squad, and it was a case of mission accomplished.
“The players came into the camp knowing what we expected of them, and they responded well,” said Roux.
“Our plan from the outset was to invite a large group of players to the first two camps to see what they have to offer, and then reduce the size of the squad as we get closer to the tournament.
“We will name a smaller squad for the next camp, and while it will be tough to cut a few players, we have a better idea of the way we would like our squad to look after the last two camps.”Aside from the regular training sessions, the players had a run against the SA Rugby Academy and Stellenbosch Rugby Academy players on Thursday, while Springbok coach and SA Rugby Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, and his assistant coach Mzwandile Stick, also visited the squad.
“I thought the chukkas went well,” said Roux.
“We wanted to see if we could implement that which we have been working on at training successfully, and it was good to give all the available players a run.
“The focus was on basics such as our defence and counter-attacks, and also to see if we could round off our opportunities close to the tryline.”
On the visit by the Springbok coaches, Roux said: “We have a fantastic system at SA Rugby where all the national coaches assist the teams when their respective sides are not in competition, and the same applies for the SA Rugby Academy, so it was great to have Rassie and Mzwandile attend sessions.”
The SA U20’s have been drawn in Pool C at the World Rugby U20 Championship with Georgia, Ireland and France.