Augustus reigns supreme in U-20s
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.