SA Schools’ U18 rugby team beat England

2013-08-13 00:00

THE SA Schools rugby team overcame a determined England outfit on Friday in their opening match of the U18 International Series, which was held at City Park Stadium in Cape Town, for a thrilling 19-14 victory and a strong start to the series.

With both teams showing good skills and much physicality, it was England that had the better of the first quarter.

The first try came just four minutes into the game, when England No 8 James Chisholm broke from the base of a strong scrum to forge over and take a 7-0 lead.

Winger Grant Hermanus (Paarl Gym) opened South Africa’s account with a penalty.

This bolstered SA’s confidence and prompted them to retain possession and apply pressure on England, but unfortunately, penalties and turnovers at crucial times denied them a few try-scoring opportunities.

Inspirational captain and eighth man Rikus Bothma (Paarl Gym) copied the English try when he drove over from a scrum, but with the conversion missed, SA took an 8-7 lead at the beginning of the second quarter and held it until the break.

The home team continued to use the forwards to put much pressure on England in their half.

Stringing a few phases together, and a quick ball from a ruck, found wing Durhan van der Merwe (Outeniqua) going through at pace to take an inside pass and cut his way through the English defence to score.

Again the conversion was unsuccessful.

England hit back almost immediately, with Chisholm scoring his second try after picking up the ball from the base of the scrum and breaking through to cross the line.

Sam Olver converted again, to hand the team a 14-13 lead.

The lead was short-lived as centre Brandon Thomson (Ermelo) slotted over the South African team’s second penalty to sneak back into a two-point lead.

England used their effective rolling maul well to get onto the front-foot and work their way into SA’s half, until an intercept by Thomson and quick numbers at the breakdowns earned the home side another penalty, which Thomson converted for a 19-14 lead.

England fought back until the dying seconds, but their efforts were countered by the determined South Africa defence, which sealed a good victory.

In the other match, Wales defeated France 29-17.

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