Apart from Porthen – who will pack down at prop – the other players who played in the tournament on home soil last year are JF van Heerden (lock), Asad Moos (scrumhalf), Jurenzo Julius (centre) and Litelihle Bester (wing).

Junior Bok coach Bafana Nhleko acknowledged the difficulty in finalizing the 30-man squad due to the high level of commitment and desire shown by the entire training group.

“We had to make some tough decisions to choose what we as coaches believe would be the best selection for the competition,” Nhleko explained.

“I commend all the guys who have been part of the journey thus far and the sacrifices made, but from hereon, the focus will be towards building cohesion within the squad.

“We are excited for the challenge that lies ahead, the players are keen to create their own story and we can only take confidence from the work that the group has put in.”

The training squad reconvened this week to begin their preparations since their return from Brisbane last month, where they participated in the inaugural U20 Rugby Championship arranged by SANZAAR.

Nhleko said: “That tournament gave us an opportunity to play in three very tough, competitive matches, presented us with key learnings and areas to work on, but we also grew as a group. We are keen to keep driving good behaviours and build on the positive aspects of our performances.”

The Junior Boks are grouped in Pool C with Fiji, Argentina, and England. France will defend the title they won in Cape Town last year, and the SA U20s will look to improve on their bronze medal from 2023.

The tournament kicks off on 29 June in Cape Town at DHL Stadium and Athlone Stadium, with subsequent pool match days scheduled for 4 and 9 July. The playoffs, including the semi-finals for the top four sides, will be staged on 14 July, with the final and ranking matches on 19 July.

The Junior Boks will start their campaign on Saturday, 29 June against Fiji in the DHL Stadium, followed by pool games against Argentina on 4 July (Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch) and England on 9 July (Athlone Stadium).

Tickets for the world event are priced at R35 for children 18 years old and younger, and R75 for adults and are available from Ticketmaster, with admission including three encounters at every venue.

Junior Springbok squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship:

Props: Casper Badenhorst (Vodacom Bulls), Liyema Ntshanga, (Toyota Cheetahs), Reno Hirst (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Zachary Porthen (captain, DHL Western Province), Ruan Swart (Vodacom Bulls).

Hookers: Ethan Bester (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Luca Bakkes (DHL Western Province), Juan Smal (Vodacom Bulls).

Locks: Adam de Waal (DHL Western Province), JF van Heerden (Vodacom Bulls), Thomas Dyer (Hollywoodbets Sharks).

Loose forwards: Batho Hlekani (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Divan Fuller (DHL Western Province), Keanu Coetsee (Vodacom Bulls), Sibabalwe Mahashe (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Thabang Mphafi (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Tiaan Jacobs (Biarritz).

Scrumhalves: Asad Moos (DHL Western Province), Ezekiel Ngobeni (DHL Western Province).

Flyhalves: Liam Koen (Vodacom Bulls), Tylor Sefoor (Toyota Cheetahs).

Centres: Bruce Sherwood (DHL Western Province), Joshua Boulle (DHL Western Province), Jurenzo Julius (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Philip-Albert van Niekerk (Vodacom Bulls).

Outside backs: JC Mars (DHL Western Province), Joel Leotlela (DHL Western Province & SA Sevens), Litelihle Bester (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Likhona Finca (Fidelity ADT Golden Lions), Michail Damon (Vodacom Bulls).