Six players who featured in the SA Schools and SA Schools A teams in the Under 19 International Series last season will add experience to the 28-member squad named on Thursday for the 2017 edition of the tournament in Cape Town.
Centre Rikus Pretorius was a member of the triumphant SA Schools team that registered a whitewash in the 2016 series, while scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba, flankers Dylan Richardson and Mark Snyman, lock Juan van der Mescht and prop Keagan Glade all represented the SA Schools A team.
The SA Schools team, sponsored by Coca-Cola, will face Wales on Friday, 11 August at City Park Stadium in Crawford; France on Tuesday, 15 August, at Paarl Gymnasium; and England on Saturday, 19 August, at a venue yet to be confirmed.
In total 18 players in the squad featured in the final match of the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week at St Stithians College in Johannesburg last Saturday between the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions and the Sharks, which the home team won 45-18, with each side boasting nine players.
The tournament marks the sixth edition of the international schools tournament, which has become a highlight on the schools rugby calendar. The SA Schools team will again be guided by head coach Lance Sendin, who is also the Hugenote Hoërskool First XV team coach, while Tshepa Trading Griffons U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week assistant coach Roean Bezuidenhout has been named as his assistant coach.
The SA Schools team will gather in Stellenbosch on Sunday, 6 August, to begin their preparations for the tournament. The captain and vice-captain is set to be named once the coaches have had time to work with the players.
“This is a talented group of players and we are excited to work with them ahead of the tournament,” said Sendin.
“We have no doubt that a huge challenge awaits in the series, but this is an exciting time of the year for us all and we will give our best to be successful in the series.”
Due to the number of participating teams in the series, the SA Schools A team will not be in action this year.
SA Schools squad:
Adrian Alberts (lock), DHL Western Province / Paarl Boys High
Morne Brandon (hooker), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions / Monument
Phendulani Buthelezi (No 8), Sharks / Durban High School
Jordan Clarke (prop), Sharks / Glenwood
Vian Fourie (flanker), DHL Western Province / Paarl Boys High
Keagan Glade (prop), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions / KES*
Travis Gordon (No 8), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions / KES
Ruhann Greyling (hooker), Free State / Grey College
Celimpilo Gumede (lock), Sharks / Durban High School
Joachim Martins (flanker), DHL Western Province/ Paarl Gymnasium
Nkosikhona Masuku (prop), Xerox Waltons Golden Lions/ Parktown Boys High
Fezokuhle Mbatha (hooker), Sharks/ Maritzburg College
Banele Mthenjane (prop), Pumas/ Nelspruit
Asenathi Ntlabakanye (prop), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions/ St Stithians
Dylan Richardson (flanker), Sharks/ Kearsney*
Mark Snyman (flanker), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions/ Helpmekaar*
Juan van der Mescht (lock), Sharks/ Glenwood*
Christen van Niekerk (lock), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions/ Monument
Diego Appollis (utility back), Blue Bulls/Garsfontein
Hillegard Du Plessis (winger), DHL Western Province/ Paarl Gymnasium
Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf), Sharks/ Glenwood
Yanga Hlalu (centre/winger), Xerox Bidvest Golden Lions/ KES
Qamani Kota (winger), Tshepa Trading Griffons/ Welkom Gimnasium
Conan Le Fleur (winger), Sharks/ Glenwood
Bonianga Mpeku (fullback), Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions/ KES
Sanele Nohamba (scrumhalf), Sharks/ Durban High School*
Rikus Pretorius (centre), Free State/ Grey College*
Christopher Schreuder (flyhalf), Free State/ Grey College
SA Schools management team:
Head Coach - Lance Sendin
Assistant Coach - Roean Bezuidenhout
Team Manager - Ofentse Moeng
Conditioning Coach - Andre Smith
Team Doctor - Dr Gerhard Coetzer
Physiotherapist - Kim Naidoo