Cape Town - Border hooker Jacques Goosen will lead the SA Schools team, and Western Province No 8 Jarod Cairns has been appointed captain of the SA Schools A team for the forthcoming Under-18 International Series, which kicks off in Stellenbosch on Friday.
Goosen, from Selborne College, will be supported by two vice-captains in the SA Schools team, Tyler Bocks (Western Province and Paarl Boys High centre) and George Cronje (Free State Cheetahs and Grey College No 8) respectively.
Cairns, from Paul Roos Gymnasium, will be assisted by Border and Selborne College scrumhalf, Daimon O’Connell, who is the SA Schools A team vice-captain.
The U18 International Series kicks off at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch on Friday, August 9, with matches to follow at Paarl Gymnasium on Tuesday, August 13 and Hugenote High School in Wellington on Saturday, August 17.
The SA Schools team will open up their campaign against Wales, followed by clashes against Argentina and England, while the SA Schools A team will meet France, Wales and Argentina respectively.
Unfortunately for SA Schools coach Mzwakhe Nkosi, the injury curse has hit already – only two days into the team’s preparations – with Bryan le Roux (prop) ruled out due to an ankle injury. Sibusiso Shongwe has been promoted from the SA Schools A team, while Blue Bulls prop Gerhard van der Merwe (from Garsfontein) has been called up to the SA Schools A team as a replacement.
Nkosi was pleased with the progress his team has made since assembling in Stellenbosch on Sunday and said: “We are starting to look like a team, and the vibe in the camp is very good, which is great for us as management.
“This tournament provides great exposure for these players, and it is even better that they get to do so against quality nations like England, France, Wales and Argentina. So we would like to see them grab this opportunity with both hands and show their talent.”
He added: “The opposition will be really tough and organised. Three of the teams had the advantage of playing in a junior Six Nations, so we are expecting enterprising play and physicality from the participating teams.”
SA Schools A team coach Phiwe Nomlomo was equally pleased with his team’s preparations so far and said: “It has been great so far. The intensity has been good and the excitement among the players to represent their country is fantastic. We are expecting a good challenge from the opposing teams, but we also need to go out there and show what we can do.”
Nkosi and Nomlomo will announce their teams for Friday’s opening games on Thursday.