Junior Springbok utility back Curwin Bosch hopes that his birthday on 25 June, the same day as the World Rugby Under-20 Championship final, will be a lucky charm for the team in the international showpiece in Manchester, England.
The last time South Africa lifted the trophy was in 2012 on home soil, and Bosch, who is making his first appearance for the Junior Springboks in the tournament at the age of 18, is hopeful that they could repeat that feat in exactly three weeks.
“We are determined to reach the final of the tournament, and hopefully the fact that the match will be played on the same day as my birthday will be a lucky charm,” said Bosch. “If we achieve our goal of lifting the trophy it would certainly be the best birthday present ever.”
Bosch and his team mates arrived in Manchester on Friday afternoon. He said sharing a hotel with defending champions, New Zealand, and the knowledge that their opening match against Japan was only three days away, triggered a series of emotions among the players.
“We are all very excited about the tournament, but being here has also triggered some nerves among the players,” said Bosch.
“I have represented the SA Schools team before in the Under-18 International Series, but this is a very different experience and there is a lot more pressure. The Junior Springboks have also been one of the top contenders for the title in the last few years, and that adds to the pressure to deliver on the expectations on us.
“However, I cannot wait to pull the green and gold jersey over my head and to represent my country.”
Bosch expected Japan to present a tough challenge in their opening match and said: “The Japan Under-20 team will draw a lot of motivation from their senior counterparts that defeated South Africa in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England,” said Bosch.
“Personally I believe there will be more pressure on us in this match than there will be on them.”
With the team’s blazer presentation ceremony now over and their opening match drawing closer, Bosch, who was the 2014 Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament, said being selected for the Junior Springboks was the highlight of his rugby career so far.
“It is very special to be selected for the team at the age of 18,” said Bosch.
“This is without doubt the best moment of my career so far. That said, our objective is to win the trophy, and that is what we are here to do. So it would make it particularly special if we could win the trophy.”