Eighteen players who featured for the SA Schools team in their 36-26 victory over the SA Schools ‘A’ in Wellington two weeks ago were selected, while five members of the ‘A’ team impressed the selectors enough to also make the cut.
Furthermore, Gino Cupido and Marno Stopforth, who are in the SA U18 Sevens team for the Commonwealth Youth Games early next month and were not considered for the Schools’ game, have also been included. They will join the squad upon their return from Trinidad & Tobago.
Thando Biyela, who has been part of SA Rugby’s Elite Player Development programme but did not feature in the SA Schools game, comes into the squad as a utility forward with good lineout and leadership skills.
SA Schools head coach Katleho Lynch has been re-appointed as SA U18 head coach and will again be assisted by James Winstanley, while the Junior Springbok coaches, Bafana Nhleko and Lumumba Currie, will also be involved.
The series will kick off with a match between England and France at Boland Landbou. The second round will see the SA U18s take on France, while England will face a WP Invitational team, at Stellenberg High School. The final round is at Paarl Boys High School where SA will play England, and France will take on the WP side.
South Africa U18 squad:
Backs: JC Mars (Western Province), Luyanda Kunene (Sharks), Gino Cupido (Western Province), Janco Purchase (Blue Bulls), Jameel de Jongh (Western Province), Ian van der Merwe (Free State), Haashim Pead (Western Province), Dominic Malgas (Eastern Province), Scott Nel (Western Province), Cheswill Jooste (Golden Lions), Christiaan van der Westhuizen (Free State).
Forwards: JJ Theron (Free State), Batho Hlekani (Eastern Province), Divan Fuller (Western Province), Ulrich van der Westhuizen (Golden Lions), Jacobus Grobbelaar (Free State), Simphiwe Ngobese (Sharks), Siphosethu Mnebelele (Golden Lions), Phiwayinkosi Kubeka (Sharks), Imaani Pemba (Eastern Province), Ranon Fouche (Free State), Jean Erasmus (Free State), Thando Biyela (Golden Lions), Xola Nyali (Western Province), Lithemba Mfupi (Sharks), Marno Stopforth (Free State).
U18 International Series fixtures:
Friday, 11 August
Venue: Boland Landbou (Paarl)
15h00: England U18 vs France U18
Tuesday, 15 August
Venue: Stellenberg High School (Durbanville)
13h00: England U18 vs WP U18 XV
15h00: SA U18 vs France U18
Saturday, 19 August
Venue: Paarl Boys High School (Paarl)
13h00: France U18 vs WP U18 XV
15h00: SA U18 vs England U18