After leading his team to victory in the 2015 U19 Currie Cup, EP Kings centre, Jeremy Ward has been rewarded with the captaincy for the SA U20 Junior Boks for the 2016 World Cup to be held in Manchester, UK in June.
He will be assisted by Vice Captain, Junior Pokomela who also hails from the EP Kings. Jeremy and Junior are 2 of 4 Grey High boys in the team along with Curwin Bosch and Keanu Vers.
We caught up with Jeremy amid training camp.
Being selected for the SA U20 squad must be a huge honour. What would you say are your strengths on the field which enabled you to make the team?
It is an honour that words don’t do justice. I have always dreamed of representing my country, at any level. So for me to be selected is an unbelievable feeling. It is difficult to highlight my strengths but I am certainly surrounded by coaches and players that enable me to improve my strengths and work on my weaknesses on a daily basis.
How have you found the training processes in Stellenbosch? Is the training different to what you have experienced in your career?
The level of training is certainly at a level that I have never experienced before. Every session requires 100% focus, intensity and you have to be on top of your game every day. The team has realized that if we want to achieve big things in England then we have to be at a level that we’ve never been at before, so a lot of work has been put in by everyone.
Your overall experience of life at the Institute in Stellenbosch?
The facilities at the institute are very impressive. I’ve been exposed to new training techniques both in the gym and on the field which has been a big learning curve. Living in Stellenbosch for the last two months has been a good experience. It’s a small, friendly town with a great vibe and everyone has enjoyed the experience.
What are your career goals for the year?
At the start of the year my main goal was to make this team. So now I will be looking to make an impact at the World Championship in June. After that I’ll just keep putting in the hard yards, and hopefully the ball will bounce in my favour.
What would your advice be to any young up-and-coming rugby player?
It would simply be just to put in the hard yards. No matter where you are, if you work hard enough on the talent that you have – things will come your way.