Au­gus­tus reigns supreme in U-20s

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

WHILE we all prob­a­bly thought he stood a darn good chance, Ju­nior Spring­bok No 8 and World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship Player of the Tour­na­ment Juarno Au­gus­tus says he didn’t think he could claim the award.

In fact, it was so un­ex­pected that “ev­ery­thing went blank” for the tal­ented 19-year-old when he was named the win­ner of the pres­ti­gious award.

The loose for­ward, who scored in all five of the Baby Boks’ matches at the tour­na­ment in Ge­or­gia, was in­stru­men­tal in the team’s bronze-medal fin­ish as he made proper use of his big phys­i­cal frame at the break­downs and col­li­sions.

He bal­anced all that grit with mo­bil­ity and a skill set that saw him cross the try line no fewer than seven times, the most in the tour­na­ment.

But de­spite his eye-catch­ing per­for­mances Au­gus­tus, born in Alexan­der Bay, said upon ar­rival in Cape Town yes­ter­day that win­ning was such a sur­prise that he “lit­er­ally can’t re­mem­ber any­thing”.

“To be hon­est, when I was sit­ting in my chair and they named all the nom­i­nees, I thought I wouldn’t get it (the award).

“And when they called my name, ev­ery­thing went blank. I lit­er­ally can’t re­mem­ber any­thing about it,” he said.

When asked how it felt to be part of an elite group of stars to have re­ceived the award, Au­gus­tus said: “I haven’t thought about it yet. But all the (se­nior) guys who have re­ceived that award have played for a na­tional team.

“So, I hope one day I can achieve that, too, through hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.”

Au­gus­tus re­fused to take the credit for his try­line ex­ploits and rather praised his team­mates and coach­ing staff.

“It was amaz­ing, but it was all thanks to the team, I was just there to fin­ish. We had good struc­tures and good coaches, so I was just in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Dur­ing the cham­pi­onship, the Ju­nior Boks pro­duced a num­ber of per­for­mances dur­ing which they put bril­liant at­tack­ing play on show, and the only time that at­tack­ing flair looked even bet­ter was when it was in the form of seam­less in­ter­play be­tween the backs and the for­wards.

And it was some­thing that Au­gus­tus said he was pleased to see. “It was a great feel­ing. “Against Ar­gentina, when I went off, I watched the game and it was great to see how our backs ap­plied what we prac­tised dur­ing train­ing and how they could score 80-me­tre tries. “It was re­ally nice to see.” When asked about his plans for the fu­ture Au­gus­tus, who has not tasted Cur­rie Cup or Su­per Rugby action, said that he hopes to one day wear the Spring­bok jer­sey.

“I re­ally don’t know (if he’ll make it), I hope I’ll be able to get there. I’ll just put in the hard work. But we’ll see,” Au­gus­tus said.

The ju­nior star also thanked ev­ery­one for their sup­port.

“I just want to thank ev­ery­one who voted for me and ev­ery­one who has sup­ported me,” Au­gus­tus said.

The tour­na­ment was won by the Baby All Blacks, who an­ni­hi­lated the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, Eng­land, 64-17 in the fi­nal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.