Blues playmaker Simon Hickey and Bulls fly-half HandrÃ© Pollard are set to make headlines at the Junior World Championship.
Blues playmaker Simon Hickey and Bulls fly-half HandrÃ© Pollard are set to make headlines at the Junior World Championship to be held in Auckland in June.
Hickey has been named captain of the New Zealand under-20 squad while Pollard returns having been part of the Junior Springbok squads that won the tournament in 2012 and finished third in 2014.
AndrÃ© Esterhuizen (centre, Sharks), Sergeal Petersen and Aidon Davis (both Southern Kings) as well as Malcolm Marx (hooker, Lions) have all either played Super Rugby or have been part of their respective franchise's Super Rugby training groups.
South Africa U20 coach Dawie Theron and the national selectors, Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh, selected the 28-man squad following an intensive identification and trials process. More than 50 players attended the training camp which ran for almost three weeks in Stellenbosch and included two trial matches as well as several training games.
New Zealand Head Coach Chris Boyd said Hickey would join the squad in May.
“We think Simon will provide some great leadership for the team given his experience both on the field and in this team environment,” said Boyd said.
The squad was selected following a trial in Palmerston North on Monday, although Hickey, who will start for the Blues against the Waratahs at Eden Park on Friday, wasn't involved in that.
“We're pretty happy with the squad we have selected,'' Boyd said.
“We've got a very hard working and efficient forward pack supported by a very exciting backline with plenty of talent.
“We expect to play a traditional New Zealand style of rugby – high tempo and expansive style of rugby.
“At the same time, we know that we will need to be strong on defence to off-set other areas of our game.''
On playing for the first time at home, Boyd said the players were well aware that playing the Junior World Championship at home was a rare opportunity.
“The boys are aware that this is a special occasion to be playing a tournament in our own back yard. They are looking forward to the challenge of playing at home, but they are also relishing the opportunity to showcase their style of rugby in front of family and friends.''
South Africa: Cyle Brink (Golden Lions, flanker), Aidon Davis (EP Kings, number eight), Jean-Luc du Plessis (Sharks, fly-half), Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks, flanker), Dan du Preez (Sharks, lock), Thomas du Toit (Sharks, prop), Joseph Dweba (Free State, hooker), Corniel Els (Blue Bulls, hooker), AndrÃ¨ Esterhuizen (Sharks, centre), Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls, full-back), Lloyd Greef (Leopards, wing), Dan Kriel (Blue Bulls, centre), Jesse Kriel (Blue Bulls, full-back), Wilco Louw (Blue Bulls, prop), Thabo Mabuza (Golden Lions, flank), Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions, hooker), Duncan Mathews (Blue Bulls, wing), Mthokozisi Mkhabela (Free State, scrum-half), Ngobisizwe Mxoli (Blue Bulls, prop), Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls, lock), Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings, wing), HandrÃ¨ Pollard (Blue Bulls, fly-half), JD Schickerling (Western Province, lock), Pierre Schoeman (Blue Bulls, prop), Victor Sekekete (Golden Lions, flanker), Justin Smith (Blue Bulls, scrum-half), Dayan van der Westhuizen (Blue Bulls, prop), Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg ( Blue Bulls, lock).
Forwards: Lachlan Boshier, Taranaki; Timothy Cadwallader, Manawatu; Troy Callander, Bay of Plenty; Geoffrey Cridge, Hawke's Bay; Joshua Dickson, Otago; Epalahame Faiva, Waikato; Kyle Harris, Otago; Mitchell Jacobson, Waikato; Tau Koloamatangi, Waikato, Scott Mellow, Taranaki; Atunaisa Moli, Waikato; James O'Reilly, Wellington; Matthew Peni, Wellington; Tom Sanders, Canterbury; James Tucker, Waikato.
Backs: Mitchell Drummond, Canterbury; Kaveinga Finau, Canterbury; Leon Fukofuka, Auckland; Tinoai (TJ) Faiane, Auckland; Jackson Garden-Bachop, Wellington; Simon Hickey (captain), Auckland; Tevita Li, North Harbour; Anton Lienert-Brown, Waikato; Damian McKenzie, Waikato; Richard Mo'unga, Canterbury; Joshua Renton, Otago; Vincent Tavae-Aso, Auckland; Tauasosi Tuimavave, Wellington.