Sharks and Junior Springbok scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse is relishing the opportunity to play for his country for a second time in 2019 during the U19 tour to Georgia.
The calm-and-collected No 9 was one of the key players in the Junior Springboks’ World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in Argentina this June, with his consistently superb contributions on the field earning him a nomination for the Breakthrough Player of the Tournament award.
The SA U19 team – guided by Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux – will depart for Tbilisi, Georgia, on Wednesday. They will play two matches against the hosts, on Monday, 2 and Thursday, 5 December.
‘I am very excited to be part of the team,’ Hendrikse said. ‘This is an exciting new bunch of players and there is a fantastic vibe in the camp, so we are really looking forward to going to Georgia and expressing ourselves on the field.
‘I know most of the players in the squad from the domestic U19 and U20 structures, so it will be nice to get the opportunity to play in the same team and also to get to know everyone well off the field.’
While the opportunity to face the physical and passionate Georgians is an exciting prospect for the squad, Hendrikse says they also planned to enjoy the experience of discovering Tbilisi off the field.
‘It is always great to go to a different country because you get to experience different cultures, meet new people and see new places, so this is very exciting for us all,’ he said.
‘This tour is certainly going to allow to us learn, both on and off the field.’
Hendrikse had the luxury of facing Georgia twice this year – once in the U20 International Series in the Western Cape and again in the World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina. While he admits they expect a tough onslaught from the hosts, he says their attention since getting together on Sunday has been on their own structures and systems.
‘The focus in the camp is mainly on us and our systems,’ said Hendrikse.
‘Having played against Georgia before, I know they are going to be physical and that they tend to place a lot of emphasis on their set pieces, so we are expecting two good matchups.’
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