Baby Boks call up ’Toti student

2011-05-16 00:00

JOHN-ROY Jenkinson of Amanzimtoti was last Friday included in the South Africa Under-20 squad that was announced by the South African Rugby Union to compete in next month’s IRB Junior World Championship in Italy.

“When I received the call from coach Theron I could hardly believe it. I’m very excited to be part of the team and I’m looking forward to representing South Africa in the green and gold for the first time,” said the former Kuswag Primary pupil.

The imposing tighthead played Under-13 Craven Week rugby for KwaZulu-Natal in 2004 and furthered his studies at Glenwood High, where he represented his province in the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week.

In 2008 the young Jenkinson rose to prominence.

He made the Under-18 KwaZulu-Natal Academy squad, played in the Under-18 Craven Week and helped Glenwood win the Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament in Japan, which he considers the highlight of his budding career to date.

Jenkinson has already carved out a reputation as a powerful scrummager, strong ball-carrier and mobile front rower and has continued his stellar schoolboy form at university level.

The North West University ace helped propel the Leopards into the Under-19 Currie Cup semi-finals last year and his great form for Pukke in the Under-21 Varsity Cup, which included him scoring three tries, saw Jenkinson acknowledged as the 2010 Pukke Under-21 Varsity Cup Player of the Year.

Jenkinson’s year got off to a great start when he was selected as one of 36 players to feature in KyKNet’s Afrikaans rugby reality series Tussen die Lyne, in which the cream of South Africa’s Varsity Cup, club and Craven Week crops vie for places in the Lasher XV squad coached by former Springbok duo Ian Macdonald and Louis Koen to play in an international fixture in New Zealand.

Jenkinson made the final 22-man touring squad and said the experience had vastly improved him as a player and as an individual.

“I improved my timing and running lines and learned a great deal from forwards coach Ian MacDonald during my time on the show.

“The whole experience to travel to New Zealand and play against a team from the Murray Mexted Academy was incredible,” he said.

On his return from New Zealand, Jenkinson made his senior debut for Pukke in the Varsity Cup and was included in the Leopards Under-21 squad.

Jenkinson is currently in Jeffreys Bay, where the Baby Boks are holding their final training camp ahead of their departure to Italy on Saturday, June 4.

The IRB Junior World Championship kicks off on Friday, June 10, when the Baby Boks will face Scotland in their opening Pool C clash in Padova. The team’s remaining pool matches will see them face Ireland in Treviso on Tuesday 14 June and England in Padova on Saturday 18 June.

It’s a difficult draw, but Jenkinson believes the squad coach, Dawie Theron, has assembled has the skill and drive to win the coveted title.

“We have a very strong team and we’ll do everything in our power to bring the trophy back home,” said Jenkinson.

I’m very excited to be part of the team and I’m looking forward to representing South Africa in the Green and Gold for the first time. JOHN-ROY Jenkinson

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