Junior Springbok winger Tyrone Green says they’ll have to improve their performance drastically if they want to progress to the semi-finals of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships.
The Junior Springboks secured a 33-27 victory against Georgia in their opening game in Perpignan, France, on Wednesday, but they had to overcome their own error-filled first half and a strong performance from Georgia to secure their tournament-opening win.
Although they looked better in the second half, it's going to take an all-out effort to overcome their next two opponents.
Green produced a big performance against the Georgians and also scored a try and set one up with his powerful running.
And while he believes they have the ability to overcome Ireland tomorrow (kick-off 4.30 pm SA time), he knows they’ll have to make a big step-up.
“We didn’t start the tournament the way we wanted to,” said Green.
“We have two big games coming up (against Ireland and France in the pool stages), and we need to improve our performance drastically if we want to get through those games. We have all the ammunition to get the job done, but we need to produce a much better performance as a team.”
The Junior Boks currently top Pool C after their bonus-point win, while France’s bonus-point edging of Ireland on Wednesday landed them in second spot (the Junior Boks lead due to a greater points difference).
Ireland will certainly be desperate to come back from their 24-26 defeat to France, so Chean Roux’s team cannot afford another struggling start tomorrow.
Despite the pressure, Green said he has taken a lot from his Junior Springbok journey: “It has been exciting to be part of this squad. The World Rugby U20 Championship is a new experience for me and it is something I could not have imagined.”
“I have always dreamed of being here and I have always pushed myself to get to this point. But it is now reality.”
Green admitted that it took hard work over several years to reach this point, and said: “My work ethic is something I’ve prided myself on because I feel the harder one works the more you can achieve.”
Of the opportunity to work with Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux, assistant coach Louis Koen and Bafana Nhleko,Green said: “It has been a great experience working with this coaching team. As players we learn from them every day, and the mind-set on how they approach the game is fantastic.”