SA Schools A produced a second-half comeback to claim a 31-31 draw in a nailbiting contest with Wales in Paarl on Tuesday. DYLAN JACK reports.
This Welsh team was always going to be tough to match after they narrowly went down to the SA Schools side in Stellenbosch on Friday. Despite a few defensive lapses, the SA Schools A side showed their improvement as a unit as they fought from a 24-17 deficit to end with a draw, an improvement from their heavy defeat by France on the weekend.
SA Schools were slow out of the blocks, giving away a turnover before conceding a soft try as Welsh fullback Jake Morgan had an easy sprint to the tryline.
However, the side hit back with their own bit of pressure after which Wales lost tighthead prop Lewys Jones to a yellow card. After grinding down the Wales defence, SA Schools managed to get a deserved try when Teague Lolly went over from the back of a maul. SA Schools took the lead for the first time in the match when wing Sonwabo Sokoyi ran an excellent line on to a loose pass from AJ Johnson to bust through the defence and score.
Wales took just a couple of minutes to regain the lead after hooker Rhodri King managed a driving-maul try of his own, before Ben Burnell added a seven-pointer on half time to see Wales go into the break 24-17 up.
SA Schools narrowed the gap through an excellent counter-attack started by captain Jarod Cairns with fullback Jacques Rossouw chipping the ball wide to Sibusiso Javu, who gathered and went over to level the scores.
Wales piled on the pressure from there and again went ahead when wing Mason Grady scored an excellent solo try through a 50m run, but SA Schools worked their way upfield and again drew level through Lolly’s second.
The final 10 minutes were nailbiting as SA Schools were contained in their own half, but Wales then lost Joe Hawkins to a red card for a dangerous tackle. Despite going close to the line on a couple of occassions, SA Schools A could not find their way through and had to settle for a stalemate.
SA Schools A – Tries: Teague Lolly (2), Sonwabo Sokoyi, Sibusiso Javu. Conversions: Jacques Rossouw (4). Penalty: Rossouw.
Wales U18 – Tries: Jake Morgan, Rhodri King, Ben Burnell, Mason Grady. Conversions: Tom Matthews (4). Penalty: Matthews.
SA Schools A – 15 Jacques Rossouw, 14 Sonwabo Sokoyi, 13 Tiaan Pretorius, 12 AJ Johnson, 11 Sibusiso Javu, 10 Sihlalo Benge, 9 Kabelo Mokheti, 8 Jarod Cairns (c), 7 Izan Esterhuizen, 6 Pierich Siebert, 5 Cornelius Rahl, 4 Raynard Roets, 3 Philip Masango, 2 Teague Lollyt, 1 Dima Lebelo.
Subs: 16 Lukhanyo Vokozela, 17 Rynhardt Rijnsburger, 18 Gerhard van der Merwe, 19 Marco van Rhyn, 20 Sisonke Vumazonke, 21 Damion O’Connell, 22 Joseph Iye, 23 Indiphile Tyeda, 24 Renzo du Plessis, 25 Josh van Vreden, 26 Nsuku Baloyi.
Wales U18 – 15 Jake Morgan, 14 Mason Grady, 13 Bradley Roderick, 12 Tom Mathews, 11 Dan John, 10 Ben Burnell , 9 Luke Davies, 8 Rhys Thomas, 7 Ollie Howard, 6 Travis Huntley, 5 Ben Carter (c), 4 Christ Tshiunza, 3 Lewys Jones, 2 Rhodri King, 1 Theo Bevacqua.
Subs: 16 Oliver Burrows, 17 Kieran Stevens, 18 Archie Griffin, 19 James Fender, 20 Peter Vickers, 21 Alex Mann, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Ethan Lloyd, 24 Carrick McDonough, 25 Jake Thomas, 26 Morgan Richards.
Photo: Gallo Images