It is no surprise that the Junior Springbok player of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships so far is No8 Juarno Augustus — and he comes from the same school as Eben Etzebeth.
Augustus has the same uncompromising approach to the game as the famed Springbok hardman‚ who also matriculated at the Tygerberg High School in Cape Town’s working class northern suburbs.
Augustus, though‚ does not only relish physical dominance. He is both a bludgeon and a rapier‚ and has a little of the other national star the school gave to SA‚ Blitzbok playmaker Justin Geduld.
In close quarters, Augustus is as tough as any loose forward the Junior Boks have fielded in the past decade.
Two of his three tries at the tournament have come from muscling his way over the line from close range.
But he is regularly found in open play as a link‚ or making a crucial cover tackle in the best traditions of great No8s.
"This experience is very special‚" said the 19-year-old.
"This is the first time I am representing my country‚ so I am just trying to give my best and to play my heart out.
"It was very special to sing the national anthem for the first time in an international tournament; it was something I will never forget. I almost had tears in my eyes."
Despite being in joint-second position on the top try-scorers’ list in the competition after the first two rounds‚ Augustus said that the credit had to go tohis teammates.
"The tries were the result of the team’s hard work‚ I was just the one who touched down the ball over the tryline‚" he said.
Unlike most of his teammates‚ Augustus had a slow start to his rugby career‚ as he started playing rugby at the age of 12. His highest achievement before being selected for the SA U20’s was playing in the Under-18 Coca-Cola Academy Week.
"I started playing rugby at the age of 12 for a local Eersterivier club called Whistling Wheels‚ and at junior level, I made the Western Province U12 team.
"The next time I played at provincial level was in the U18 Coca-Cola Academy Week‚ and after that I was invited to play for the Western Province Rugby Institute.
"I was actually first selected as a back as a youngster‚ with my coaches playing me either at scrumhalf or inside centre‚ and then I made the switch to a forward."
Like his teammates, Augustus‚ whose role-model is Stormers captain and Springbok loose forward Siya Kolisi‚ dreams of playing for the Springboks‚ and he says he will continue giving his best to achieve this goal.
"Obviously, I need to keep working really hard and I need to fix up the errors in my game. But if I give everything, perhaps, I will get the opportunity someday‚" said Augustus.
"For now‚ however‚ I want to just keep doing my best for the SA U20s and, hopefully, we can advance to the final of the U20 Championship."
The Junior Springboks will face Argentina on Thursday in their final pool match at the Avchala Stadium.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux will name his match 23 for the clash on Wednesday.