The Junior Springboks are bustling with cropped-up energy and excitement and cannot wait to run onto the field on Friday when they face Uruguay Under-20, when international rugby finally returns to South African soil.
The Under-20 International Series match, which kicks off at 15h00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport, is the second encounter of two in the tournament, with Georgia and Argentina facing each other, also at Markötter Stadium, in the first match at 13h00.
Dylan de Leeuw, Junior Springbok lock, said the preparations went well and that it is now time for the players to go onto the field to express themselves.
“We are very excited,” said De Leeuw.
“We have not played international rugby in a long time; in fact it will be a first cap for all of us when we face Uruguay tomorrow. There are a lot of nerves, but I think the excitement is even stronger.”
Playing for you country is huge and one needs to stand tall, but De Leeuw knows that. At 2.01m, he is the tallest member of the Junior Bok squad, but size does not mean much if not used well, De Leeuw admits.
“Our pack have a big responsibility tomorrow,” he said.
“We do not know much about Uruguay and have not seen much footage, but they do like to spread the ball around and use their backs.
“So, we will have to soften them up in the forwards and make sure we dominate. When we do that, it will put their backs on the back foot and allow our backs to attack with front foot ball.”
Friday’s clashes in Stellenbosch are the first of four rounds of matches. South Africa will play Argentina and Uruguay will face Georgia on Wednesday 23 June, with the third set of matches to be contested on Monday 28 June when the Junior Boks play Georgia, while the two South Americans sides will clash.
The tournament concludes on 3 July when the two top ranked teams play each other and the bottom two will meet.
U20 International Series first round fixtures:
Argentina v Georgia
Referee: Morné Ferreira
South Africa v Uruguay
Referee: Phumzile Mbewu
Issued by SA Rugby Communications