Cape Town — The Junior Springboks will face the Under-20 teams of Georgia and Argentina, as well as a Namibian XV in the new International Series in the Western Cape in April, as part of their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina in June.
Each team will face one another once over three rounds of matches on 9, 13 and 17 April in a similar format to the pool stages of the World Rugby U20 Championship, where they will play matches every four days.
Argentina and the Namibia XV, which will be a senior side, will kick off the series at Paarl Gymnasium on Tuesday, 9 April, with the Junior Springboks lining up against World Rugby U20 Championship opponents, Georgia.
The second round of matches, which will see the SA U20s take on the Namibia XV, and Georgia meet Argentina, will play out at Tygerberg Rugby Club in Ravensmead, while the final round, at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, will pit the Junior Springboks up against Argentina, and Georgia against the Namibia XV.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux , who has been guiding the SA Rugby Academy squad in Stellenbosch since February, will announce his squad for the camp late next week. The squad, which will continue to form part of the SA Rugby Academy, will gather in Stellenbosch on Sunday, 31 March, with the camp running until 18 April. This will also mark the conclusion of the SA Rugby Academy programme.
"The U20 International Series will serve as a fantastic opportunity for the players to prove themselves with an eye on the World Rugby U20 Championship," said Roux.
"After working with a host of players as part of the SA Rugby Academy, these matches will give us as coaches another idea of which players have the potential to make the final 28-man squad, which we will select after the series.
"Argentina and Georgia are participating in the World Rugby U20 Championship this year, and the Argentineans are hosting the showpiece, so this series will be equally important in their preparations.
"Georgia faced us in SA last year, so we are looking forward to welcoming them back. We are expecting a challenging, yet exciting series."
The Junior Springboks will kick off their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign against Scotland on Tuesday, 4 June, before taking on Georgia (Saturday, 8 June) and New Zealand (Wednesday, 12 June) in the pool stages. The semi-finals will be contested on Monday, 17 June, and the final on Saturday, 22 June.
U20 International Series fixtures (kick-off times TBC):
Tuesday, 9 April (Paarl Gymnasium):
Argentina vs Namibia XV
Georgia vs Junior Springboks
Saturday, 13 April (Tygerberg Rugby Club):
Georgia vs Argentina
Junior Springboks vs Namibia XV
Wednesday, 17 April (Paul Roos Gymnasium)
Georgia vs Namibia XV
Junior Springboks vs Argentina