Junior Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse is relishing the opportunity to represent his country for the second time this year after being included in the SA Under-19 team to tour Georgia, and he said they are keen to express themselves on the field.
The calm-and-collected No 9 was one of the key players in the Junior Springboks’ World Rugby Under-20 Championship campaign in Argentina in June, with his consistently superb contributions on the field earning him a nomination for the Breakthrough Player of the Tournament award. The SA Under-20s claimed the bronze medal in the international showpiece.
The SA Under-19 team – which is being guided by Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux – will depart for Tbilisi, Georgia, on Wednesday. They will play two matches against the hosts, on December 2 and 5.
“I am very excited to be part of the SA Under-19 team,” said Hendrikse.
“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 Under-19 and Under-20 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 on the field is an exciting prospect for the squad, Hendrikse said 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 Under-20 International Series in the Western Cape and again in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Argentina, and while he admitted that they expected a tough onslaught from the hosts, he said 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 match-ups.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo