Mistakes at crucial times cost the SA Schools team for the second week in a row in the U19 International Series as they went down 13-8 against France in wet and muddy conditions at Paarl Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The SA Schools team had a number of opportunities to score in the match, but handling errors, bad decisions and lost lineouts at crucial times cost them dearly and coach Lance Sendin was frank in his assessment on those.
“The wet weather certainly impacted on our game plan as we had planned to attack France in the wider channels, but in rugby, you have to be able to adapt, and in some areas, we battled to do that.”
“We got off to a slow start in the first half and didn’t use a number of opportunities in the second half,” said Sendin. “We chatted about the same things after our first match, so the responsibility lies with us to fix it before the game against England on Saturday.
France took an 8-0 lead at the break thanks to a penalty goal by fullback Matthis Lebel and late try by No 8 Alban Roussel from a pick-and go, as the SA Schools team were left counting the cost of handling errors at crucial times throughout the first half.
A poor pass and knock-on within striking range of the try line and their inability to capitalize on an overlap on the 22m line and an early penalty goal left the hosts scoreless at halftime.
SA Schools center Diego Appollis, however, struck back three minutes into the second half with a try as he received the ball at pace and powered his way through three defenders to put the side on the scoreboard.
Flyhalf Christopher Schreuder added a penalty goal minutes later to inflate their score to eight points and draw the scores level.
France, however, canceled this out with an intercept try in the 47th-minute compliments of replacement back Maxence Lemardelet to stretch their lead to 13-8.
The SA Schools team had three more chances to snatch a victory in the dying minutes, but a missed lineout, double movement over the try line and a subsequent failed kick resulted in them suffering their second defeat in the tournament.
In the earlier match, England missed a conversion on the stroke of fulltime against Wales, which saw them go down 14-12.
SA Schools – Try: Diego Appollis. Penalty Goal: Christopher Schreuder.
France – Tries: Alban Roussel, Maxence Lemardelet. Penalty Goal: Matthis Lebel.