Cape Town - Junior Springbok captain Ernst van Rhyn and his team were looking forward to testing themselves against the top sides in the world at the World Rugby U20 Championship as the squad prepared to depart for Tbilisi, Georgia, on Thursday evening.
The SA U20’s wrapped up their preparations at home on Thursday with morning gym and field sessions, and the spirits were high as they packed their bags and travelled to the airport.
“We have been working hard for this moment since the first training camp early in March, so it is fantastic to finally get on the plane to Georgia,” said Van Rhyn.
“The atmosphere in the camp is great and we all have a deep desire to go out there and give everything to win the trophy.
“We know we have to work very hard and play well in each match to achieve this, but our preparation was good and we believe in ourselves.”
With clashes against France, hosts Georgia, and Argentina lined up in the pool stages, Van Rhyn expected his team to be tested thoroughly, but he said their only focus for now was on their opening clash against France.
“We have set high standards and goals for ourselves, and we are hoping to get our campaign off to a good start against France next week Wednesday,” said the former SA Schools captain.
“Our focus at this stage is solely on our first match. Once we have gotten through that we will look at the next match, so we plan to take each day in our stride, and hopefully we will go all the way and bring back the trophy.”
South Africa will kick off their campaign face France on Wednesday, 31 May, at the Avchala Stadium, before battling it out with Gerogia on Sunday, 4 June, and Argentina on Thursday, 8 June, respectively in the pool rounds. The semi-finals will be contested on Tuesday, 13 June and the Final on Sunday, 18 June.
South Africa finished fourth in the 2016 edition of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester.
Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship fixtures (SA Times):
Wednesday, 31 May: 13h30 – SA v France
Sunday, 4 June: 16h00 – SA v Georgia
Thursday, 8 June: 13h30 – SA vs Argentina