Juarno Augustus during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at High Performance Centre on February 17, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: GRANT PITCHER / GALLO IMAGES
Juarno Augustus during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at High Performance Centre on February 17, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: GRANT PITCHER / GALLO IMAGES

Juarno Augustus is happy to be playing rugby again.

The 22-year-old No 8 marked his return to the Stormers team with his maiden Super Rugby try during the come-from-behind 33-30 win over a gutsy Lions side at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Augustus, the world’s best under-20 player in 2017, has been plagued with injuries but says he is over them now and just wants to play and do his bit for the side.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play again,” he said on Monday at the team’s training ground in Bellville. “Yes, I’ve struggled with injuries but I’ve overcome them and I am happy to be back. First it was my arm, then my ankle during our preseason, but I got through it all with the support of my family and coaches.

“I was fine mentally — my focus was on working hard and getting fit again and trusting the process.”

As for his five-pointer, the burly player says he went blank when he crossed the whitewash.

“When I got the ball, all that was on my mind was to get the ball over the try line. When I realised I was on the ground, I saw the line in front of me and I reached out. I didn’t think they were going to give the try because of the double movement.

“It was a tough game on the highveld but none of us doubted ourselves,” he said. “It came down to the way we train and the quality players we have that got us over the line. The last two minutes with us down on the scoreboard we had the belief that we can win and played the way we wanted to. The way we scored is the way coach John Dobson wants us to play.”

The Stormers turned over the Lions at a ruck in the final seconds, forced a scrum, and then from the halfway line launched wave after wave of attack, culminating in a fourth try going the way of centre Ruan Nel and converted by flyhalf Damian Willemse for the victory.    

It made it three wins in a row for the unbeaten Capetonians, who have amassed 13 points from a possible 15 and sit second on the overall standings headed by New Zealand outfit Chiefs, who have the same number of points but are ahead on points difference.

Dobson’s charges return to Newlands for a third time on Saturday for a clash with the fourth-placed Jaguares, last season’s finalists.