Cameron Winnett desperate to beat South Africa in Summer Series Final

·4-min read
Under 20 Six Nations Summer Series Round 2 Pool B, Stadio di Monigo, Italy 30/6/2022 Wales vs Georgia Wales’ Cameron Winnett Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie (©INPHO/James Crombie)

CAUTIOUS Cameron Winnett is desperate to win the Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series Final for Wales against South Africa but wary of giving his dad too much to celebrate writes Josh Graham.

Full-back Winnett, 19, has played a starring role in Wales’ wins over Scotland, Georgia and Italy to set up their sternest test yet against the similarly unbeaten Baby Boks on Tuesday night in Treviso.

His parents have been at every game in Italy over the last month at Benetton’s Stadio Comunale di Monigo but with both father and son die-hard Liverpool fans, Winnett is hoping there is no repeat of his dad’s unfortunate injury when toasting the Reds’ famous Istanbul comeback to beat AC Milan 17 years ago.

He said: “My father was watching the 2005 Champions League final and my mother was walking me in the pram outside and he got up to celebrate, but he dislocated his shoulder!

“So he had to go to hospital and that’s the memory I’ve got. My father got me into supporting Liverpool from a young age, he’s supported them all his life. My favourite player is Luis Diaz but all-time it’s Fernando Torres. I know they are playing Manchester United on Tuesday as well, so I look forward to watching that after our game.

“My mother and father have been out here for the full three weeks. They were in Rome the other day and have been off to Croatia, Venice and Milan. They are literally making the most of it!

“It means the world to have them in the crowd, I don’t think they’ve ever missed one of my games.”

Buoyed by the return of Exeter Chiefs’ second-row duo Christ Tshiunza and Dafydd Jenkins, Wales have shown no signs of the form that saw them finish a disappointing fifth in the Six Nations earlier this year with only a victory over Scotland to show for their efforts.

And Winnett admits it has been pleasing to silence their doubters with captain Joe Hawkins’ monster penalty at the death against Italy last time out ensuring they topped Pool B.

He said: “It would mean everything to us to win the Final because we had a poor Six Nations. We are three in a row now and it would be a dream come true for the boys to end the 20s season with a win against South Africa.”

Covid may have denied Winnett and his colleagues plenty of international rugby but it did hand him a Champions Cup debut with Cardiff RFC after the majority of the senior squad got stuck in South Africa at the end of last year.

Having missed out on playing against Toulouse due to a hamstring injury, Winnett revealed he had to keep pinching himself when he started and scored a try in the 43-17 defeat away against a Harlequins side featuring the likes of England fly-half Marcus Smith and Springbok Andre Esterhuizen.

“I missed Toulouse and got the chance to play against Harlequins and that’s a time I’ll never forget. It was unreal and so surreal,” explained Winnett, who has been receiving advice from Wales wing Josh Adams at Cardiff Arms Park.

“It was mad, I just found myself looking at the screen most of the time and thinking, ‘How has this happened?!’ I’m grateful for that opportunity I was given.

“Obviously playing against Harlequins aged 18, you are going to need that reassurance.

“Marcus Smith was unreal, Esterhuizen in the centre - I didn’t want him breaking the line! It makes me want to push on, work hard and play more for the club - that’s the dream.”

Winnett watched the senior Wales side pull off a stunning 13-12 win over South Africa in Saturday’s second Test, a result that has reinforced his side’s belief that they can have similar success against the same opposition.

He said: “It was mad and a really nuts game. The boys did really well, they had a few cards in the last game that probably lost them it but they did really well in the second Test to come back and get that win.

“It gives us confidence because if they can do it, it shows we can do it as well.”

The Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHm6BFw-9JRA1CMekNLwMg

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting