NZ semi-final excites Junior Boks

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iol spt mar15 Rugby ball

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Johannesburg - Junior Springbok captain and flyhalf Handre Pollard and his team mates are relishing the prospects of playing home team New Zealand under-20 in the semi-final of the IRB Junior World Championship at the QBE Stadium in Albany, Auckland on Sunday.

“There is a very good mood in our camp. We are excited by the prospects of playing New Zealand at home again,” Pollard said on Friday.

“It will be daunting task but the guys are looking forward to play because this is a vital match and a must win situation.”

The Bulls flyhalf would be playing in his third consecutive semi-final after making his JWC debut in 2012 on home soil in South Africa. In 2012 he won the JWC title as a schoolboy while last year he was in the exciting Junior Boks team which finished third in France.

He also has the distinction of finishing on the winning side in all three his previous outings against the New Zealanders at the annual JWC tournament.

The Junior Boks had shrugged off their early tournament injury woes which saw them having four players on the sideline at one stage.

Pollard said the team had taken a lot of confidence from their pool win over New Zealand, but each player knew it would be much harder come Sunday where they would be fighting for a place in the final.

“Our team has a real desire to play in the final and we realise that if we want to achieve that, then we must be clinical and take our opportunities. We all know that New Zealand is a side that can punish you severely for making mistakes.

“It is more of a mental challenge than anything else. There is all the hype, excitement and huge build-up to the match but as a team you need to stay in your system so you can execute your plan well.”

Defending champions England and Ireland meet in Sunday's first semi-final at 7.05am (SA time).

The South African match kicks off at 9.35am (SA time) at the QBE Stadium in Albany, Auckland, and will be televised live on SuperSport.

Sapa


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