CAPE TOWN - Junior Springbok No 8 Juarno Augustus says he wants to continue “playing his heart out” as the team prepare to face Argentina in their final round-robin match of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship tomorrow.
In their opening match against France, the Junior Boks only managed a 23-all draw last week, but against Georgia on Sunday they secured a 38-14 win over the hosts in fine style as Chean Roux’s team scored a few stunning tries.
Augustus was one of the guys who crossed the try line against the hosts, in fact, he has done so three times so far in the tournament – he scored one against the hosts at the weekend, and against the French, one of his two tries was the last-gasp five-pointer that levelled the score with Franc
And despite being in joint-second position on the top try scorers’ list in the competition after the first two rounds, Augustus said the credit had to go to his teammates.
“The tries were the result of the team’s hard work, I was just the one who touched down the ball over the tryline,” said Augustus.
And now Augustus says he is enjoying the honour of representing his country for the first time.
“This experience is very special,” said Augustus, who matriculated at Tygerberg High School in Cape Town, alma mater of Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth and Springbok Sevens playmaker Justin Geduld. “This is the first time I am representing my country, so I am just trying to give my best and to play my heart out.
“It was very special to sing the national anthem for the first time in an international tournament; it was something I will never forget. I almost had tears in my eyes.”
Like all of his teammates, Augustus dreams of playing for the Springboks one day. And the 19-year-old, whose role model is Stormers skipper and Bok loose forward Siya Kolisi, knows that he’s going to have to keep putting in the hard work before he can follow in the footsteps of his idol.
“Obviously I need to keep working really hard and I need to fix up the errors in my game. But if I give everything perhaps I will get the opportunity someday,” said Augustus.
“For now, however, I want to just keep doing my best for the SA Under-20s and hopefully we can advance to the final of the Under-20 Championship. It has been an honour to work with coaches Chean, (Mzwandile) Stick and Louis (Koen). They are top quality coaches, who have coached at the highest level and they have added invaluable insight into the game for us all.”
Augustus might share a few goals with his teammates, but unlike most of them, he had quite a late start to his rugby career, as he started playing rugby at the age of 12.
“I started playing rugby at the age of 12-years-old for a local Eersterivier club called Whistling Wheels, and at junior level I made the Western Province Under-12 team,” said Augustus. “The next time I played at provincial level was in the Under-18 Academy Week, and after that I was invited to play for the Western Province Rugby Institute.
“I was actually first selected as a back as a youngster, with my coaches playing me either at scrumhalf or inside centre, and then I made the switch to a forward.”