The Junior Springboks on Thursday departed for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England, with high hopes of winning the title following an intense two-month training camp in Cape Town.
The team will meet Japan in their opening pool match on Tuesday, 7 June, followed by clashes against Argentina on Saturday, 11 June, and France on Wednesday, 15 June.
The semi-final will be hosted on Monday, 20 June, with the final on Saturday, 25 June.
“We have worked very hard in the last two months to put the structures and systems in place for the tournament, and it is now time for us to implement that on the field in Manchester,” said Junior Springbok captain Jeremy Ward.
“The tempo of our last four training sessions in South Africa on Monday and Tuesday were very high and hopefully we can replicate that urgency and focus during our matches.
“As a team we are excited about the opportunity ahead, but we also realise that we will enter the tournament with huge expectations. That said, we are determined to do well and make our country proud.”
The team wrapped up their training camp in Cape Town on Wednesday night with their blazer presentation ceremony in the presence of family, friends, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux and SA Rugby Executive members, and Ward said it was a special send-off for the team.
“It was very special to celebrate our selection with family and friends, and we now know what expectations are on us after being addressed by SA Rugby CEO Mr. Jurie Roux,” said Ward.
“We are leaving South Africa with a heavy weight on our shoulders to win the trophy, but I believe if we play to our potential, we have what it takes to lift the trophy, and we will certainly do our best to achieve that.”
The team departed for London on Thursday via Johannesburg. They will take the short flight to Manchester on arrival in London.