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Junior Boks head Down Under for 'wonderful opportunity'

SPOTLIGHT: The Junior Springboks wrapped up their preparations for the forthcoming Under-20 Rugby Championship with a training session against the Golden Lions Under-21 squad in Sandton on Tuesday.

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They fly out to Australia on Wednesday.

The inaugural U20 Rugby Championship takes place from May 2 to 12 and will be staged at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Queensland, where the up-and-coming stars of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa will compete against each other.

The SA U20 squad was named last week and their holding camp in Johannesburg ended the local preparations for the campaign in Australia, which is the first of two international events for the Junior Boks his year.

In June and July, the Junior Boks will again take part in the annual World Rugby Under-20 Championship, which will be staged for a second successive year across three venues in Western Cape.

Junior Bok coach Bafana Nhleko said the group have prepared well for the inaugural SANZAAR event, which forms an integral part of their overall preparations for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

“As a group, we are really excited about touring to Australia and to participate in this tournament, which is a wonderful opportunity for the Junior Springboks to test our skills and gain international experience,” said Nhleko.

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“We are grateful to SANZAAR for finding a solution for us and the other southern hemisphere nations.

“It’s a great initiative and provides our group with an opportunity to build an identity, create bonds and continue to grow on and off the field.”

Following their preparation camp in Stellenbosch, which saw the players in action in a few training games against local provincial teams, Nhleko said they have clear objectives for the tournament in Australia.

“We spoke about the importance of performance; to do that, you need to be consistent in your behaviours and playing systems in a competitive, Test match environment,” he added.

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“The boys are excited about this opportunity to test themselves and play in another country, to experience the Australian culture, and to continue to grow as a group.”

The new competition will comprise a round-robin format where all teams will play each other once while the top team will be declared the champion after the three-round, six-match tournament.

Match schedule

Thursday, May 2
Junior Boks v New Zealand
Australia v Argentina

Tuesday, May 7
New Zealand v Argentina
Junior Boks v Australia

Sunday, May 12
Junior Boks v Argentina
Australia v New Zealand

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