Five Junior Boks to watch

Coach Chean Roux looks at five Junior Springboks who were identified by as potentially key players to watch at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Province: Sharks
Position: Flyhalf/fullback

‘Curwin is the only guy who has played lots of Super Rugby. He brings that experience, which is invaluable. I think he might even find it easier to come down to U20 level, which is great, and we will definitely tap into that experience. We have all seen what a capable player he is with the Sharks, and his excellent goal-kicking will be a big bonus for us. Curwin hasn’t spent a lot of time in the squad due to his Super Rugby commitments, but I know he’s eager to contribute to this campaign, and we see him as our No 10.’

Province: Western Province
Position: Lock

‘Salmaan is another player who has just come out of school, but he brings physicality to the game. He’s a momentum-giver and a momentum-stopper, and that’s exactly what we need from a No 4 lock. Having been in a very successful schoolboy side [Paarl Boys’ High] gives him an edge and he’s almost ahead of the curve in terms of his physical development. Salmaan is a player who will give 100% from the word go and he’s certainly another great prospect for the future.’

Province: Western Province
Position: Flyhalf/centre

‘He is a tremendous talent. We have to realise he was at school just six months ago and for him it’s about fitting into these new structures. As a coach, you want to see him express his natural talent and this should be a great learning opportunity for Damian. His footwork is excellent and he has all-round ability, although we will look to continue working on his kicking game a bit. Damian could even have a role to play at 12 alongside Curwin.’

Province: Western Province
Position: Loose forward

‘Zain is a fantastic player. The one thing he brings to the party is the fact he has been with the SA Sevens team, and their work ethic is off the charts. You can clearly see he has benefited from that. He brings that experience of having been involved in last year’s [U20 Championship] campaign and he is a tremendous ball player with lots of skills. He has a big engine to run all day, and is someone we’ll lean on heavily.’

Province: Blue Bulls
Position: Scrumhalf

‘The one thing that stands out about Embrose is his exceptional speed around the park; he’s an explosive player. He has a big heart and we’ve been working on his passing in the lead-up to the tournament. We have to remember he’s only 18 years old, but he is certainly someone with plenty of potential, and with the improvements that have been made to his passing game, I’m confident he will have a bright future.’

– This article first appeared in the June 2017 issue of SA Rugby magazine


Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt