SA Schools coach Lance Sendin attributed his team’s 52-22 defeat against England at City Park Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday to missed opportunities and lapses in concentration on defense. The defeat left the team winless in the U19 International Series.
Errors at crucial times missed tackles and the inability to capitalise on their point-scoring chances – which let the team down in their matches against Wales and France – continued to haunt the SA Schools team, despite a call by Sendin on Friday for a vastly improved showing from his charges.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to in the first half and we missed three opportunities to score,” said Sendin.
“We bounced back in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but we let it slip again. So in essence, bad defence and our inability to use a number of chances cost us again.”
Sendin, however, hoped that the players would use the lessons learned during the tournament in future and said: “We played against teams that were settled outfits who have played together and against one another in the past, and it is important that players learn from this tournament as they progress through the ranks.
“Some of the players in the squad are still under 17 so they will be back next year, and they will know what to expect.”
In a disappointing first-half for the hosts, flyhalf Stephan der Bank missed two penalty goals in the first five minutes, while a knock-on close to the try line and a subsequently lost ball on the tryline left the team scoreless at the break for the second match in a row.
In turn England ran hard on attack throughout the half and broke through tackles easily, while they did well to force their way over the advantage line almost every time they carried the ball up-field, which earned them three first-half tries compliments of full back Ollie Hassell-Collins, lock Josh Basham and captain and No 8 Sam Moore respectively.
This handed them an encouraging 19-0 lead at the break.
The SA Schools team fought back strongly early in the second half with back-to-back tries by winger Muller du Plessis and flanker Henco Martins respectively followed by a penalty goal by Qamani Kota, which reduced the deficit to 19-15 with 26 minutes to play.
England, however, hit back with two tries in two minutes by forwards Nic Rigby and Tom Willis and three more as the half progressed thanks to Caden Murley, Sam Spink, and Nick David to take their tally for the match to eight.
The SA Schools team, meanwhile, were only able to add one more try to their tally with Du Plessis receiving the ball in space and racing to the try line.
In the other match, France defeated Wales 31-19.
SA Schools 22 (0) – Tries: Muller du Plessis (2), Henco Martins. Conversions: Qamani Kota (2). Penalty Goal: Qamani Kota.
England 52 (19) – Tries: Ollie Hassell-Collins, Josh Basham, Sam Moore, Nic Rigby, Tom Willis, Caden Murley, Sam Spink, Nick David. Conversions: Cameron Redpath (3), Kieran Wilkinson (3).