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, July 20 2019
17:05 - South Africa vs Australia
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Saturday, July 27 2019
09:35 - New Zealand vs South Africa
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday, August 10 2019
00:00 - Argentina vs South Africa
Castle Lager Incoming Series
Saturday, August 17 2019
17:05 - South Africa vs Argentina
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
RWC Warm-up game
Friday, September 06 2019
00:00 - Japan vs South Africa
Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama
Rugby World Cup
Saturday, September 21 2019
11:45 - South Africa vs New Zealand
International Stadium, Yokohama
Saturday, September 28 2019
11:45 - South Africa vs Namibia
City of Toyota Stadium
Friday, October 04 2019
11:45 - South Africa vs Italy
Shizuoka Stadium
Tuesday, October 08 2019
12:15 - South Africa vs Canada
Kobe Misaki Stadium

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