The Junior Springboks have been drawn in a challenging pool with hosts, Georgia, France and Argentina for the 2017 World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
The tournament will be hosted in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, from 31 May to 18 June next year.
The SA U20 team, who finished fourth earlier this year in Manchester, England, have been drawn in Pool C and will kick off their campaign on Wednesday, 31 May against France. They will then meet Georgia on Sunday, 4 June, and Argentina on Thursday, 8 June, in their other pool games.
The Junior Springboks defeated France 40-31 in the pool stages in Manchester, but they went down 19-13 in their round-robin match against Argentina and then suffered a 49-19 defeat against Los Pumitas in the bronze playoff.
England, who were crowned the champions this year, have been drawn in Pool A with Australia, Wales and Samoa, while 2016 runners-up, Ireland, will meet New Zealand, Scotland and Italy in Pool B.
Samoa have been promoted to the U20 Championship after winning the U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe this year. They replace Japan in the competition. The clashes in Pools A and C and the playoff rounds will be hosted in Tbilisi, while the Pool B games will be played in Kutaisi.
“The World Rugby U20 Championship is proving to be an enormously popular and important tournament and it plays a key developmental role in preparing the future stars of the game,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
“Rugby is growing at an incredible rate in Georgia and interest is at an all-time high. I have no doubt that we'll see passionate and energetic crowds in Tbilisi and Kutaisi next year as all 12 teams put on a masterclass for fans.
“With preparations continuing for Rugby World Cup 2019, many of the players we see in Georgia could also feature on the greatest stage in Japan in just under three years’ time.”
Meanwhile, SA Rugby has confirmed that the process of finding a new Junior Springbok coach is well underway. An announcement on the new coach will be made in due course.
Junior Springbok pool fixtures at the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship (Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia) - (SA Time):
Wednesday, 31 May: 17h30 – SA v France
Sunday, 4 June: 20h00 – SA v Georgia
Thursday, 8 June: 15h30 – SA vs Argentina