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Sharks’ Buthelezi to captain strong Junior Boks side at U20 World Champs

Sharks flanker Phendulani Buthelezi will captain a strong 28-man Junior Boks squad at next months under 20 Junior World Championships in Argentina.

Flanker Phendulani Buthelezi leads out the Junior Springboks ahead of a match. Picture: @JuniorBoks/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Sharks flanker Phendulani Buthelezi will captain a strong 28-man Junior Boks squad at next month's Under-20 Junior World Championships in Argentina.

Buthelezi is one of four players that return to the squad for their second tournament. Rikus Pretorius (centre) – who was named as the co-vice-captain with Francke Horn (No 8) – David Coetzer (flyhalf) and Asenathi Ntlabakanye (prop) are the four members of the squad that won the bronze medal at the 2018 edition of the event in France.

The 28-man squad – consisting of 16 forwards and 12 backs – also includes Springbok Sevens player Angelo Davids, who played in in the Hong Kong and Singapore HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments, and Buthelezi’s Cell C Sharks’ Vodacom Super Rugby team-mates Fezokuhle Mbatha (hooker) and JJ van der Mescht (lock).

All of the players in the squad with the exception of Davids, Dian Bleuler (prop), Vaughen Isaacs (fullback), David Coetzer (flyhalf), David Kriel (utility back), Elrigh Louw (lock) and Mnombo Zwelendaba (centre) travelled with the team to the UK last month for the warm-up matches against England and Wales.

Coetzer, Kriel, Louw and Zwelendaba all ran out for the side in the U20 International Series in April against Georgia, Argentina and the Namibia XV.

Chean Roux’s team will wrap up their preparations for the international showpiece at their base in Stellenbosch in the next three weeks, with the team departing for Argentina on Wednesday, 29 May.

The Junior Springboks will be based in Rosario for the duration of the World Rugby U20 Championship where they will meet Scotland in their opening match on Tuesday, 4 June, before taking on Georgia (Saturday, 8 June) and New Zealand (Wednesday, 12 June) in their remaining pool matches.

The semi-finals will be contested on Monday, 17 June, and the final on Saturday, 22 June.

Junior Springbok squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship (in alphabetical order):

Thaakir Abrahams (Cell C Sharks; utility back)
Dian Bleuler (DHL Western Province; prop)
Phendulani Buthelezi (captain – Cell C Sharks; loose forward)
David Coetzer (DHL Western Province; flyhalf)
Angelo Davids (SA Rugby contracted; wing)
Caleb Dingaan (Cell C Sharks; wing)
Kudzwai Dube (Vodacom Blue Bulls; prop)
Celimpilo Gumede (Cell C Sharks; loose forward)
Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks; scrumhalf)
Francke Horn (vice-captain – DHL Western Province; No 8)
Vaughen Isaacs (Vodacom Blue Bulls; fullback)
Hanro Jacobs (Cell C Sharks; prop)
David Kriel (DHL Western Province; utility back)
Jaco Labuschagne (Vodacom Blue Bulls; loose forward)
Elrigh Louw (Toyota Free State; lock)
Fezokuhle Mbatha (Cell C Sharks; hooker)
Thabiso Mdletshe (Cell C Sharks; prop)
JJ van der Mescht (Cell C Sharks; lock)
James Mollentze (Toyota Free State; utility back)
Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks; scrumhalf)
Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions; prop)
Marnus Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls; utility back)
Rikus Pretorius (vice-captain – DHL Western Province; centre)
Dylan Richardson (Cell C Sharks; utility forward)
Sibusiso Sangweni (Xerox Golden Lions; loose forward)
Emile van Heerden (Cell C Sharks; lock)
Dameon Venter (Xerox Golden Lions; hooker)
Mnombo Zwelendaba (DHL Western Province; centre)