Junior Pokomela
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Junior Pokomela

Junior Pokomela
Full nameJunior Sipato Pokomela
Date of birth (1996-12-10) 10 December 1996 (age 23)
Place of birthPort Elizabeth, South Africa
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight108 kg (238 lb; 17 st 0 lb)
SchoolGrey High School, Port Elizabeth
UniversityNelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Loose forward
Current team Cheetahs / Free State Cheetahs
Youth career
2012-2016 Eastern Province Kings
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2016 NMMU Madibaz 4 (7)
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2016 Eastern Province Kings 3 (0)
2017-present Cheetahs 32 (30)
2017 Free State XV 7 (5)
2017-present Free State Cheetahs 15 (15)
Correct as of 21 October 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014 South Africa Schools 1 (0)
2016 South Africa Under-20 5 (0)
Correct as of 22 April 2018

Junior Sipato Pokomela (born 10 December 1996 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa) is a South African rugby union player for the Cheetahs in the Pro14 and the Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup.[1] His regular position is loose forward.

Rugby career

2012-14: Under-16 and Under-18 rugby

Pokomela earned his first provincial selection in 2012, when he represented Eastern Province at the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week held in Johannesburg, starting all three of their matches in the tournament.

In 2014, he was selected to represent Eastern Province at the premier schools tournament in South Africa, the Under-18 Craven Week, held in Middelburg, once again starting all three of their matches in the tournament. At the conclusion of the tournament, Pokomela was included in a South Africa Schools squad.[2] He was an unused replacement in their 40-15 victory over Wales,[3] but started their next match as they suffered a 22-30 defeat to England.[4]

2015: Eastern Province Under-19

In 2015, he joined the Eastern Province academy; he was included in the Eastern Province U19 squad that participated in Group A of the 2015 Under-19 Provincial Championship. He immediately established himself as the first choice Eighth man for the team, starting all fourteen of their matches during the competition. He scored two tries in their match against Free State U19 in a 29-10 victory in Port Elizabeth[5] and scored further tries in their matches against Free State U19 in Bloemfontein,[6]Leopards U19,[7]Blue Bulls U19,[8]Sharks U19[9] and Western Province U19[10] to help his side top the log, winning eleven of their twelve matches and qualifying for home advantage in the semi-final. Pokomela scored his fourth try in three matches against Free State in a 31-15 semi-final victory[11] to see his team reach the final. Although he didn't score in the final, he played the entire 70 minutes of a 25-23 victory over Blue Bulls U19[12] to help his side become champions for the first time in their history.[13]

2016: Super Rugby, Varsity Cup and Currie Cup qualification

On 13 December 2015, Pokomela was included on a list of 20 players released by the South African Rugby Union that would be part of the Southern Kings squad for the 2016 Super Rugby season.[14]

He wasn't utilised at the start of the competition, instead playing in the 2016 Varsity Cup competition with the NMMU Madibaz. He started four of their matches and scored a try in their 46-33 victory over UCT Ikey Tigers[15] in a season that saw NMMU finished in seventh position on the log.

Following serious financial problems at the Eastern Province Kings at the end of the 2015 season which saw a number of first team regular leave the union,[16] Pokomela was among a number of youngsters that were promoted to the squad that competed in the 2016 Currie Cup qualification series,[17] He was named in the starting lineup for their first match of the season against the SWD Eagles[18] and played the entire 80 minutes of a 14-37 defeat.[19]

In March 2016, Pokomela was included in a South Africa Under-20 training squad,[20] and made the cut to be named in a reduced provisional squad a week later.[21] On 10 May 2016, he was included in the final squad for the 2016 World Rugby Under 20 Championship tournament to be held in Manchester, England, also being named vice-captain of the team.[22] He started in their opening match in Pool C of the tournament as South Africa came from behind to beat Japan 59-19.[23] He also started their other two pool matches as South Africa were beaten 13-19 by Argentina in their second match,[24] but bounced back to secure a 40-31 bonus-point victory over France in their final pool match[25] to secure a semi-final place as the best runner-up in the competition. He retained his starting spot in the play-offs, as South Africa faced three-time champions England in the semi-finals, but the hosts proved too strong for South Africa, knocking them out of the competition with a 39-17 victory.[26] Following captain Jeremy Ward being handed a two-week ban for a dangerous tackle against England,[27] Pokomela captained the side against Argentina in the third-place play-off final. Argentina beat South Africa - as they did in the pool stages - convincingly winning 49-19[28] and in the process condemning South Africa to fourth place in the competition.

References

  1. ^ "SA Rugby Player Profile - Junior Pokomela". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ "SARU names 2014 SA Schools squad". South African Rugby Union. 31 July 2014. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - SA Schools 40-15 Wales U18". South African Rugby Union. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - SA Schools 22-30 England U18". South African Rugby Union. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Eastern Province U19 29-10 Free State U19". South African Rugby Union. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Free State U19 15-28 Eastern Province U19". South African Rugby Union. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Leopards U19 24-41 Eastern Province U19". South African Rugby Union. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Eastern Province U19 24-15 Blue Bulls U19". South African Rugby Union. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Eastern Province U19 26-7 Sharks U19". South African Rugby Union. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Western Province U19 6-23 Eastern Province U19". South African Rugby Union. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Eastern Province U19 31-15 Free State U19". South African Rugby Union. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Eastern Province U19 25-23 Blue Bulls U19". South African Rugby Union. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ "WP young guns, EP clinch junior titles". South African Rugby Union. 25 October 2015. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Southern Kings announce first signings". South African Rugby Union. 13 December 2015. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - FNB NMMU MADIBAZ 46-33 FNB UCT IKEYS". South African Rugby Union. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ "Kings facing player exodus?". Rugby365. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "SA Rugby Squad - EP Kings : 2016 Currie Cup Qualifying". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ "EP Kings team announced for SWD Eagles match". South African Rugby Union. 5 April 2016. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - EP Kings 14-37 SWD Eagles". South African Rugby Union. 9 April 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ "Large group invited to Junior Springbok trials camp". South African Rugby Union. 24 March 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ "Theron names provisional Junior Springbok squad". South African Rugby Union. 1 April 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ "Ward to lead Junior Springboks in England". South African Rugby Union. 10 May 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - South Africa U20 59-19 Japan U20". South African Rugby Union. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - South Africa U20 13-19 Argentina U20". South African Rugby Union. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - South Africa U20 40-31 France U20". South African Rugby Union. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - England U20 39-17 South Africa U20". South African Rugby Union. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ "U20 Championship 2016: Disciplinary" (Press release). World Rugby. Archived from the original on 28 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre - Argentina U20 49-19 South Africa U20". South African Rugby Union. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.

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