SA Schools coach Lance Sendin and SA Schools A coach Sean Erasmus praised their teams for their strong performances on Tuesday in the second round of the U19 International Series at Bishops in Rondebosch, Cape Town, which earned them rewarding victories against France and England respectively.
The SA Schools team overcame a determined challenge by France for a 42-3 victory, while the SA Schools A team outscored England eight tries to two for an emphatic 53-14 victory. The victory for the SA Schools team followed on their 23-17 win against Wales last Friday.
In the opening match of the day Wales defeated Italy 41-15.
“I am very proud of the guys,” said Sendin. “We dominated up-front against a strong French pack and this created opportunities for the backs to attack. It was also pleasing to see how the backs used the ball, so we will take several positives from this game.”
Erasmus was equally pleased with his team’s performance and said: “Everyone did their bit on the field and it paid off with a quality performance. Our attack and defence was solid, which is really pleasing.”
The clash between the SA Schools team and France was bruising as both teams put their bodies on the line on attack and defence. France slotted over an early penalty, but the hosts soon found their rhythm on attack and took control of the match. This earned them back-to-back tries by winger Muller du Plessis and captain and lock Salmaan Moerat in the first 21 minutes.
France tried hard to hit back, but the defence shut them out. The SA Schools team, meanwhile, made good use of their chances, which allowed Moerat to add his second try shortly before the break as he crashed over the line following several phases to hand his team a 21-3 lead.
The home team picked up where they left off in the second half as Moerat drew the defence and passed out wide to wing Mike Mavovana, who touched down four minutes after play resumed. They were, however, dealt a blow in the 54th minute as Moerat was sin-binned for tackling a player without the ball. But this did not deter them as flyhalf Damian Willemse held off the defence to score their fifth try. The closing stages of the match were hard-fought, but Du Plessis broke through for his second try in the dying minutes to seal a 42-3 victory.
The SA Schools A team, meanwhile, were in fine form against England as they applied pressure on attack and defence from the outset. This approach paid off minutes into the match as centre Janco van Heyningen scored following a set move from a scrum, while fullback Abner van Reenen slotted over a penalty goal minutes later for a 10-0 lead.
England ran hard at the hosts, but their efforts to cross the tryline were denied by the tenacious defence. An intercept allowed winger Austin Davids to touch down for their second try, while hooker Schalk Erasmus added another from a rolling maul soon after as England were reduced to 14 men.
England hit back with a try on the stroke of halftime after stringing together phases and running hard on attack, which reduced the deficit to 22-7.
But the floodgates opened for the hosts after the break as they ran circles around England to score four tries within 20 minutes compliments of winger Tadendaishe Mujawo, Erasmus, lock Ryno Pieterse and Ayabonga Oliphant to stretch their lead to 46-7.
England responded with their second try, but this was cancelled out by the hosts’ eighth try out wide by Pieterse, which proved to be the last points of the match, and earned the SA Schools A team a 53-14 victory.
The final round of matches will be played at Paarl Boys’ High on Saturday.
Scorers (click on the hyperlinks below for the full run of play):
SA Schools – Tries: Damian Willemse, Mike Mavovana, Muller Du Plessis (2), Salmaan Moerat (2). Conversions: Gianni Lombard (5). Penalty Goal: Ruan De Swardt.
France – Penalty Goal: Romain Ntamack
SA Schools A – Tries: Austin Davids, Ayabonga Oliphant, Janco Van Heyningen, Ryno Pieterse (2), Schalk Erasmus (2), Tadendaishe Mujawo. Conversions: Abner Van Reenen, Austin Davids (2), Tyrone Green (2). Penalty Goal: Abner Van Reenen.
England – Tries: Gabriel Ibitoye, James Grayson. Conversions: James Grayson, Tom Parton.