The young South Africans suffered their only loss of the tournament to England in the semi-finals after they had put together an impressive run of three wins during the pool stages.
Dawie Theron’s side played ten matches this season – five in the build-up to the Under-20 Championship and another five matches during the tournament in Italy.
Despite being disappointed with the England result, Theron was pleased with the overall performance of his team this year.
The Junior Bok coach praised his medical and conditioning staff for their outstanding player management during the season.
“I cannot speak highly enough of our medical and conditioning team. For the first time ever we had all 28 players available, fit and ready for selection for all five matches in Italy, which was something remarkable given our physical approach.
“They worked tirelessly during the extensive training camp, our tour to Argentina and during the U20 Championship. The weather conditions were very different over there and we had to tweak our approach and training times because of the scorching heat.
“The squad adjusted well to our alternative approach and for this I must commend our entire management team, who worked hard behind the scenes,” said Theron.
According to the SA Under-20 coach the defeat against England highlighted a few valuable lessons.
“We will work harder with our future leadership group so that they are able to deal much better with adjustments on the field when things don’t go our way. I especially liked the can-do attitude of the players and I am convinced that a number of them will go on and play good rugby at senior level,” added Theron.
He praised the emergence of Vodacom Blue Bulls lock Jason Jenkins and also said good performances by props Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs) and Thomas du Toit (Cell C Cheetahs) gave the team good momentum in set pieces.
“Jason is a remarkable story. I think he only started to play rugby in his second-last year at school and showed great promise for us this year. Thomas coped well with his switch from loosehead to tighthead while Leolin Zas caught the attention amongst the backs,” said Theron.
Three players in the 28-man squad will still be eligible for the 2016 tournament in Manchester. They are Marco Jansen van Vuren (scrumhalf), Tinus de Beer (fly half) and JT Jackson (centre).