SA U18 elite squad win all three matches

2010-07-27 00:00

THE South African U18 elite squad, selected after Craven Week, completed their third match with a win on Friday against England. They have won all three matches played, the first against the France U18 and the second against a Namibian Invitation side.

With 32 players in the High Performance squad it was inevitable that a different team would be selected to play against the Namibian Invitation XV. They eventually won 27-16 after leading 14-6 at half time.

Captained by SA Schools captain and centre William Small-Smith (Grey College), who had missed the first game due to injury, South Africa struggled to build momentum against Namibia, particularly in the first half, where the forwards battled in the scrums and lost numerous line-outs.

They were heavily penalised for numerous­ infringements and this kept Namibia in the game.

Flyhalf Marco Prinsloo slotted two first-half penalties for Namibia, after SA centre Patrick Howard (Michaelhouse) and prop Tshepo Motale (Bishops), had scored tries. Both were converted by flyhalf Marais Schmidt (Monument).

In the second half changes were made and it was replacement flyhalf Johan Goosen (Grey College) who slotted two penalties to one by Prinsloo. The try of the match was made by interplay between Small-Smith and replacement centre Paul Jordaan (Grey College) and finished off by Goosen, who then obliged with the extra two points.

It was Namibia that scored the final points, however, when lock Barend van Rensburg, crashed over from loose play close to the tryline. Prinsloo converted for the 27-16 win to South Africa.

The final game was a triumph, after the England U18 had given the local lads a 45-13 hiding in 2009. However, the English, who were much bigger than their hosts, will be rueing not taking all their chances and giving unnecessary penalties away. The baby Boks won the match 23-17, after leading 9-7 at the break.

England scored three tries to just one by South Africa. A brace of tries was scored by English centre Elliott Daly, following the first-half try by wing Mark Jennings.

They starved SA of possession for long periods, forcing the hosts to put in about five times more tackles than England. SA players were guilty of kicking possession away when they did win good ball and were generally outplayed. To their credit they did not give up and turned almost certain defeat into a win. Goosen kicked five penalties, two long range, late in the game, after England led 17-9 with 25 minutes remaining.

It was a brilliant solo effort by Jordaan, who beat four defenders, to score a try and bring his side back into the game, 14-17. Jordaan equalised the scores with a penalty before the two long-range kicks by Goosen gave SA the victory.

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