Four Wits rugby players have been selected to join the national Junior Springbok squad. 

The four rugby players from Wits University feel honoured about their selection to represent the nation in the Under-20 International Series.  

Their names were announced at the end of May and the players are ready to ditch the practice field for the big stage, where they will battle Uruguay, Argentina and Georgia for the youth cup.  

Coach of the Junior Boks, Bafana Nhleko, told Wits Vuvuzela the players have gone through a long period of preparation to get ready for the tournament; like playing in the Elite Player Development campsCraven WeekSA SchoolsSA Rugby Academy and Varsity Cup   

We track players over a lengthy period, so there is no specific tournament that guarantees a player selection,” says Nhleko. “Our academy program encompasses rugby, education and life skills”. 

Henco van Wyk (20) represented the SA Schools team in 2019. The BA general, second-year student told Wits Vuvuzela, “I am very happy and privileged to be chosen for this amazing team. There are not a lot of people that get this opportunity.” 

Nico Steyn (19), a first year BA student who plays scrumhalf for the Junior Boks squad, says, “It all came down to working hard and enjoying what I do, playing the best rugby I possibly can and using my talent.” Steyn has also played scrumhalf for the Lions Rugby team.  

Sibusiso Shongwe (20), also a first-year BA general student, told Wits Vuvuzela, “My journey started with being selected to partake in the SA Academy at Stellenbosch [from March, 2021]. It was a challenging three-month period where my limits and understanding were challenged every day.”   

Shongwe previously represented the SA Schools team in the Under-18 International Series in 2019, and has also made the Lions Craven Week team.  Before that, he played eighth man, but he will switch to the prop position for the Junior Boks squad. 

Jordan Hendrikse (19) has previously represented the SA Schools A team in the 2019 competition. “It took a lot of hard work, early mornings and dedication to get through it.” The first year BA psychology student says that he also feels grateful and excited about being selected to represent South Africa as a flyhalf. “Overall, [I am] just looking forward to the competition.” 

The Wits rugby coach, Hugo van As, is “extremely proud” of his players. “It is a reflection that our system [to identify quality players] is working,” says van As.  

The International Series kicks off on June 18. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Four rugby players from Wits University selected to join the Junior Springboks squad. Infographic: Melissa Sima