ACE Southern Kings wing Sergeal Petersen put on a brave face when he arrived home in Port Elizabeth yesterday after an injury crushed his dream of playing for the Baby Boks at the Junior World Cup in France next month.
The 18-year-old flyer had been expected to be one of the big stars at the international event, which showcases the talents of the world’s best under-20 players.
“I am very disappointed I will not be going to France with the guys,” Sergeal said when he landed at Port Elizabeth Airport after leaving the Baby Bok camp.
But the hard- running star said he would now be concentrating all his energy on regaining full fitness before the end of the Super Rugby season.
Petersen is still young enough to represent the Baby Boks next year when the annual showpiece will be held in New Zealand.
“Hopefully next year will be my year and I will be selected again. Now I will be concentrating on getting my hamstring better and playing for the Kings in their final three Super Rugby matches,” Petersen said.
“The mood in the Baby Bok camp is great and I am sure the guys can return to South Africa with the trophy.”
Petersen sustained the injury during a Super Rugby match between the Southern Kings and the Waratahs earlier this month.
“I’m very upset for Sergeal,” Southern Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons said.
“It is really sad that he has not got this opportunity. It would have been tremendous for his development. But that is rugby and life and you have to overcome these things.”
Former SA Schools utility back Jessie Kriel (Blue Bulls) will replace Petersen, who is expected to be out of action for three to four weeks.
The withdrawal of Petersen means that No 8 Aidon Davis is the only Kings representative in the Baby Bok team.
“Sergeal underwent a scan and it was confirmed that he still has significant structural damage to his hamstring,” Dr Phato Zondi, the SA under-20 team doctor said.
“He will require rehabilitation for a further three to four weeks, which rules him out of the Junior World Cup pool matches,
Dawie Theron, the SA under-20 coach, described the withdrawal as a major disappointment for the team.
“Sergeal is such a talented player and he was really looking forward to playing for the junior Boks. We all feel gutted for him and want to wish him a speedy recovery,” Theron said.