NMMU wing Yaw Penxe is motivated for the next challenge in his burgeoning rugby career as he contemplates turning out for the Junior Springboks when the U20 World Championship kicks off this month.
The 20-year-old Madibaz player, who grew up in Queenstown and attended Queen’s primary and high schools, will leave with the squad next week for the tournament in Georgia.
The Junior Boks play their opening game against France on May 31.
A wing who wants to add a sharp edge to the team’s attacking game-plan, Penxe said he was honoured to have been chosen for the squad.
“It really is a privilege to represent your country, so my selection means a lot to me,” said the second-year B.Comm student.
“I was just very happy when I heard that I had been selected for the squad and the excitement for the journey ahead sank in immediately.”
Penxe said his top priority going into the tournament would be to try to play his role to perfection.
“I’m just looking to do my job extremely well, especially finishing off movements.”
The Junior Boks have spent the last month preparing for the world championship, completing their match programme with a solid performance against the Varsity Cup Dream Team, defeating them 50-19 in Stellenbosch recently.
Penxe said he had fitted in very well with his teammates.
“It’s been a lovely experience thus far and it just gets better by the day, honestly.
“But we know we will have some tough challenges in Georgia because we are up against strong teams in France, the hosts and Argentina.”
Penxe has been playing rugby since he could run, while he also excelled in athletics when at Queen’s.
“My earliest memory of playing rugby is diving over the line to score my first try, only to end up getting winded,” he recalled.
“I also competed in a number of national athletics meetings at a junior level.”
Penxe has packed a fair degree of experience into his young career. He has played Super Rugby and said one of his memorable moments was scoring a try on debut for the Southern Kings against the Lions in March.
He added that powerful Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg was one of the toughest opponents he had faced as he was “a really strong runner”.
The Madibaz star paid tribute to the many people who had helped him during his career.