Baby Boks go to war

2014-06-01 15:00

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The Junior Boks are confident they will capture the IRB Junior World Championship crown they won on home soil in 2012.

The Under-20s go into battle in New Zealand where they find themselves in the same group as the hosts, Scotland and Samoa. There are three other groups of four.

They open their programme against Scotland at QBE Stadium tomorrow and both coach Dawie Theron and skipper Handré Pollard sounded confident of success at the team’s hotel in downtown Auckland.

“We’ve had better preparation than in the last two years as I spent more time with the players,” said Theron (47), who is at his fourth Championship.

Pollard said: “We’ve got to win our matches against Scotland and Samoa so that, even if we stumble against New Zealand, we make it to the quarterfinals.”

Squad members will draw a lot of inspiration from Pollard, who has played Super Rugby for the Bulls in New Zealand and Australia.

Another reasonably experienced talent is Thomas du Toit, who was part of the travelling Sharks team. Although he didn’t get a look in, Sharks coach Jake White is said to have confidence in the young prop.

“We are well prepared as we worked under soggy conditions that were very heavy underfoot in Stellenbosch. These are the conditions we expect here during the tournament,” said Theron.

The Junior Boks became the first team to beat New Zealand in the tournament when they went all the way in 2012.

Theron still believes that their loss by a single point to Wales (“I don’t understand how,” he said) – cost them the title that eventually went to France last year.

Another squad member, Nqobisizwe Mxoli, said: “We played very well in our three preparation matches against Argentina and I was told that this is the first time we have beaten them three times in a row. This is a good motivating factor for us going into this tournament.”

He said the team had been conditioned to take every game as it came.

“My personal ambition is to play well in this tournament so that I can see myself making it into the senior national team in future,” he said.

According to him, Pollard and Du Toit – the two players who have Super Rugby experience – were inspirational for the entire team.

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