NEWS ARTICLES
Simelane cherishes U20 Championship experience
June 18, 2018
Junior Springbok vice-captain and centre Wandisile Simelane, who capped off the World Rugby U20 Championship with the honour of being the joint top try-scorer with six tries, looked back at the competition with fond memories as the team prepared to depart for South Africa on Monday night.

The Junior Springboks finished the tournament – hosted in the south of France – in third place after delivering a strong performance in the bronze playoff to defeat New Zealand 40-30.

“It is a fantastic tournament,” said Simelane, who scored a hat-trick in the team’s second pool match against Ireland.

“We came all the way to France as 20-year-olds, and we were based in a very small town called Gruissan. This experience allowed us to learn about different cultures and meet new people, even though the language barrier was a challenge.

“From a rugby perspective, this a mentally and physically demanding competition. There are only four days in between games, so it asks a lot of the players. But it was a great experience for me and the team.”

Of being handed the vice-captaincy after Damian Willemse was ruled out because of injury, Simelane said: “It was easy because everyone played their part, so it was a fantastic experience. This was the first or second time that I took up a leadership role in a national team, and it motivated me to bring that 5% extra every time I had the opportunity to do so.”

Simelane shared Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux’s disappointment of not advancing to the final, but he was pleased that they finished the tournament on a winning note against New Zealand.

“It was awesome to finish the competition on a high note,” said Simelane.

“We lost by one point to a very good England team in the semi-final, which was heart-breaking and very disappointing for us. But to bounce back and beat a very good and motivated New Zealand team was fantastic.”

Looking forward, Simelane said he hoped to meet up with his team-mates in a few years and look back at their experience in France after building a brotherhood since their preparation began in February.

“The bonds we created as a group were very special,” said Simelane.

“We got closer as a group in the five months we were together, and one could see how we grew together as a squad. It will be nice to catch up in a few years and talk about our experience in Gruissan.”

The Junior Springboks will arrive South Africa on Tuesday afternoon.

MATCH CENTRE
FIXTURES
     
RESULTS
     
The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
Saturday, September 29 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs Australia
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
Saturday, October 06 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs New Zealand
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Castle Lager Outgoing Tour
Friday, November 02 2018
00:00 - England vs South Africa
Twickenham, London
Saturday, November 10 2018
00:00 - France vs South Africa
Stade de France, Paris
Saturday, November 17 2018
00:00 - Scotland vs South Africa
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Saturday, November 24 2018
00:00 - Wales vs South Africa
Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Copyright - SA Rugby. All Rights Reserved - Photos by Gallo Images