Velleman sets his sights on world U20 rugby champs
Madibaz vice-captain CJ Velleman will be winging his way to Argentina this week for the Junior Springboks’ warm-up tour ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy in June.
Velleman will be hoping to make an impression during the two-match series in Rosario from May 8 to 16 in an effort to earn his spot in the final squad for world champs.
The open-side flanker had a stellar start to the season with consistent performances in the FNB Varsity Cup tournament, which earned him the runner-up spot in the overall Player that Rocks competition.
Velleman was then invited to the national trials in Stellenbosch in March, after which he was one of 37 players asked to return for a second training camp in April.
The quantity-surveying student was also part of the squad that beat the Varsity Cup Dream Team 31-24 in a friendly encounter last month.
“I was really excited but at the same time pretty nervous because it's an unbelievable opportunity and you only get one chance to not mess it up,” said Velleman.
“It was one of my proudest moments being able to pull the Bok jersey over my head.
“I hope to remain a permanent fixture in the squad, but for now I am just aiming to make it to the final 28 for the World Cup,” said Velleman.
After the South American tour, the young forward will join the Eastern Province under-21 side for the Currie Cup season.
“If it's anything like last year's under-19 division then it's going to be a really exciting time.”
The 20-year-old said he had had a rugby ball in his hands since he could remember and had played the sport throughout his school year.
“Every rugby player’s dream is to run out for the Boks one day but for now I just want to focus on doing my best to secure my spot in the baby Bok touring squad.
“I would also like to advance as far as I can within the Kings system with the hopes of getting a senior cap before leaving the academy.”
Photo Caption: Madibaz vice-captain CJ Velleman (second from right) will be winging his way to Argentina this week for the Junior Springboks’ warm-up tour. The open-side flanker is aiming to earn a permanent place in the squad ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy in June. Photo: Saspa
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