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Junior Boks' honest review ahead of U20 World Champs

SPOTLIGHT: The Junior Springboks are leaving no stone unturned as they prepare for Saturday’s World Rugby Under-20 opening encounter with Fiji at Cape Town Stadium, according to assistant coach Lumumba Currie.

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The South African Under-20 side moved into their official tournament base in the Mother City from their home base in Stellenbosch, and immediately went about their business with an afternoon session against their Australian counterparts at the Hamilton rugby club grounds in Sea Point.

Speaking to local media shortly after the team had checked into their tournament team hotel, Currie said the focus of team for this week is to fine tune their preparations for the game against Fiji.

“We’ve been together for four weeks now, and the guys are looking sharp in camp. We’ve had a couple of training games against the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport Rugby Institute [Sasri], which was a good thing for us as we needed to get that contact fitness,” added Currie.

The past weekend the team also had a workout against New Zealand at the Boland Stadium in Wellington, which also proved valuable for the upcoming showpiece.

“That will give us a better fighting chance in the competition because we played three international matches in the [recently staged U20 Rugby] Championship, which is something we never had before, and if you keep in mind the European teams would have a Six Nations under their belt before arriving here,” according to the Junior Boks forwards coach.

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The Fijian side will consist of players who played in the Pacific and New Zealand U20 competitions, which means they are battle-hardened and have a team with settled combinations.

It is for this reason that, according to Currie, the Junior Boks will pick their best available match squad for what will be a testing opening match Saturday evening.

“Fiji have been playing together for a while now, and played in the NZ U20 competition, which means that they’ve spent time together, which should give them confidence.”

Currie said overall, the current Junior Bok squad is in a much better state of preparedness than last year’s team, who did not have the benefit of playing three quality Test matches in Queensland.

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“I must be honest, we are better off than where we were last year this time, when we were still trying to find our feet at this stage. Then most of our players made their debut against Georgia in the first game of the World Championship.

“Coming from school’s rugby, Under-19 and Under-20 provincial competition is different from internationals. The margins for error are so much smaller,” reckons Currie.

“But the Rugby Championship and this environment has taught this group that you’ve got to minimise your errors, as you won’t get so many chances, and sort out our execution on attack and defence.”

The Junior Bok team to face Fiji will be named on Thursday and the team will wrap up their preparations for the opening match with their Captains Run on Friday.

 

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