JOHANNESBURG – In a few weeks time it will be the turn of the Springboks to take on the French, but before then the countries’ junior sides will do battle, in their opening game of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia on Wednesday.
And flyhalf Curwin Bosch – who many feel should be training with the Springboks and preparing himself for Test rugby rather than turning out for the U20s – believes the team are ready for their opener. This, after the lengthy flight from South Africa, via Istanbul, to Georgia’s capital.
“We are feeling great,” said Bosch, who delivered a number of masterful performances for the Sharks in Super Rugby before being named in the U20 side.
He is one of eight players who took part in the 2016 edition of the tournament in Manchester last year.
“We have had a few good training sessions in the last few days and we are looking forward to the game. It was a long trip to Tbilisi, but we have recovered well and we are settled in, so our only focus now is on the first match against France.”
The Junior Boks arrived on Friday and have since then had a series of field and gym sessions and are now in their normal training routine.
Bosch, who was one of the nominees for the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament award last year, admitted that as with all national teams worldwide there was pressure on the players. He added that they would take each match in their stride.
“There is always pressure when you represent your country, but the guys are handling it well,” said Bosch, who performed in a good few more pressure-filled games than many of his team-mates.
“The important thing for us is to focus on our strengths rather than what France has to offer. So we are ready to go and we are looking forward to a great match.”
The Junior Boks will wrap up their match preparations on Tuesday at their captain’s run, with coach Chean Roux expected to name his lineup afterwards.
South Africa will face tournament hosts, Georgia, on Sunday and Argentina on Thursday, June 8 in their remaining pool matches.
The semi-finals and final will be hosted on Tuesday, June 13, and Sunday, June 18, respectively.
Kick-off against France on Wednesday is 1.30pm (SA time).