SA Schools captain Jacques Goosen says they are looking forward to their U18 International Series opener against Wales in Stellenbosch on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The SA Schools and SA Schools A teams have both been hard at work this week after assembling as a squad last Sunday.
They face a tough international series against three of the junior Six Nations teams, who are using this tournament as a way to prepare their U17 players for next year’s U18 Six Nations.
SA Schools won’t have an easy start as they take on Wales. The South African schoolboys needed a last-minute try to claim an entertaining 43-40 win last year.
Goosen, who is being schooled at Selborne College in East London, is one of only a handful of players who will be making their second appearance for the SA Schools, having also represented the country last year.
‘We have settled in nicely and everyone is very keen to get going,’ Goosen said. ‘We came together nicely as a squad and the guys are ready to go out and execute on our plans.
‘It has been really good so far, the guys are excited to play. There is a great vibe in the team and the leadership group has stood up. We have worked on a lot of plans so we are looking forward to the action.
‘Wales are a tough side; I recall that last year we only managed a win in the last minute of play. So we are taking nothing for granted. We just want to go out and enjoy the moment of playing for our country.’
Meanwhile, the SA Schools A side are looking to go out and enjoy themselves when they meet France earlier in the day. They will be led by Paul Roos Gimnasium No 8 Jarod Cairns, who will be playing on his home ground on Friday.
‘We are all very proud to be selected,’ Cairns said. ‘It has been great the past week. We have got a great mood going. There have been a few injuries but the boys are not focusing on that too much. We are focused on tomorrow’s game. We can’t wait to go out and show what we have worked on this week.
‘We have plans in place on how we want to play and will try and do that. This is a great opportunity also to learn from and experience the playing styles from the opponents and we are looking forward to the matchup of our skills against theirs.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images