The South African U20 team to face England in their opening clash of the Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series on Friday in Verona, Italy, has been named.
The team will be captained by flyhalf Sacha Mngomezulu who was part of the Stormers squad that won the inaugural United Rugby Championship (URC) this past weekend.
Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko believes his squad is ready for a demanding tournament.
"Two years ago, there was no schools and age-group rugby and last year, we played in a strictly controlled environment in our home-based international series because of the Covid-19 pandemic," said Nhleko.
"Now we have a group of players that will sing the national anthem before playing for their country, for the first time. Exposure to international rugby is a great step up in their development and their future rugby pathway.
"That's the exciting part, and these guys have started on a great journey, but we are under no illusion as to what tough battles await us over the next three weeks, starting with England.
"I believe we are well prepared, but Friday's match will demand a huge effort because we are competing against teams that are used to playing at this level on a regular basis. We must back up the positive attitude and energy with a good application of our game principles and fundamentals from the start," added Nhleko.
Following their clash with England, the Junior Boks will face Ireland and France in a tough start to the competition.
Eight countries are in action in the Summer Series – the Six Nations sides as well as South Africa and Georgia – split into two groups of four, with each side playing three pool matches before a cross pool match to decide the winner.
All 16 matches will take place in Italy, with Verona's Payanini Center and Stadio Di Monigo in Treviso playing host to all the exciting action.
According to the tournament rules, the matchday squad will consist of 26 players instead of the usual 23, meaning the coaches will be able to use all 11 players on the replacement bench.
The match kicks off at 17:00 and will be streamed live on www.springboks.rugby.
Junior Springbok team
15 Duran Koevort (Western Province), 14 Donovan Don (Griffons), 13 Ethan James (Western Province), 12 Carlton Banies (Bulls), 11 Suleiman Hartzenberg (Western Province), 10 Sacha Mngomezulu (captain, Western Province), 9 Nico Steyn (Bulls), 8 Cameron Hanekom (Bulls), 7 Ruan Venter (Lions), 6 Siya Ningiza (Sharks), 5 Reinhardt Ludwig (Bulls), 4 Connor Evans (Western Province), 3 Corne Weilbach (Western Province), 2 Lukhanyo Vokozela (Western Province), 1 Lamla Nunu (Western Province)
Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Lange (Bulls), 17 Juann Else (Bulls), 18 Sebastian Lombard (Bulls), 19 Corne Rahl (Sharks), 20 Louw Nel (Western Province), 21 Imad Khan (Western Province), 22 Compion von Ludwig, 23 Latica Nela (SA Rugby Sevens contracted), 24 Merwe Olivier (Bulls), 25 Paul de Villiers (Western Province), 26 Gcino Mdletshe (Bulls)