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Baby Boks ready to go ahead of #JWC2014

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sarugby.co.za     25 May 2014     Getty Images

Junior Bok coach, Dawie Theron, addressed a media briefing in Stellenbosch on Thursday and said his charges are looking forward to travel to New Zealand on Monday.

The team’s capping ceremony on Saturday in Cape Town will conclude an intensive period of preparations, which included three matches against Argentina Under-20.

According to Theron it is already evident that the squad is reaping the reward of their adjusted training schedule. Unlike previous years, the squad spent a lot more time together before their departure to the JWC.

“It was very positive for us, and it was good that it was closer to the tournament. Our preparation will mean more for us because we played these games just before the tournament. And we also had a very hard contact session against Hamiltons earlier in the week, and that also went well,” said Theron.

The coach said he is not too concerned that two of his players, Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls) and Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), have not been able to participate fully at the training camp, because of Vodacom Super Rugby commitments. Pollard will captain the team in New Zealand.

“Handré is in his third year with us and he knows our system very well. All his experience over the last three years will make it easier for him to slot in - he knows the coaches and he knows the culture of the team,” said Theron.

He reiterated his team will face a daunting challenge in New Zealand, where they are grouped in the same pool as the Kiwi’s, Scotland and Samoa.

“It is a very difficult group and is a big challenge for us, so we will take it one game at a time. For now we don’t want to look too far ahead. We see Scotland as our most important match, so that we can get going and lay the foundation.

That’s why it’s so important to get it right from the start – but it’s also a great opportunity,” added Theron.

The Junior Springbok coach added New Zealand will be under huge pressure in their own country. “I think the pressure is massive on New Zealand, it will be a major challenge for them.”

Theron described his squad as big and physical but added that there is a good balance of skilful players as well.