Round 1 of the Aon U18 International Series saw South Africa and France kick off their campaigns with very contrasting victories.
South Africa snatched a late win against Wales in an absolute thriller, scoring at the death for a 43-40 victory. France meanwhile were in control against a younger England side, going 31-0 up at half time before the tide was stemmed a bit, the young Frenchmen eventually winding up 41-21 victors.
It was a tough afternoon for England, who were physically dominated by the French in the opening half. However in the second half England scored three tries, though Brooksby Melton College’s George Martin, Millfield’s Josh Gillespie, and St Ambrose Colleges Raphael Quirke in a much improved performance, that also saw France reduced to just two tries as opposed to their four in the first half.
Commenting after the game, England U18 Coach Jim Mallinder said:
“We were physically up against it, they were the much bigger team, we struggled with the tempo to begin with, but what was pleasing was that we stuck with it. We talked at half time about trying to move it wide and it was fantastic to see the team improve in the second half. The replacements came on and made a massive impact and it was great to win the second half.”
“This is the start of their journey on the pathway, it’s a young team, they have lots of things to learn which is expected but there is potential in this group. I am very excited to see these guys get back to training and put it into a game environment. I know we have a basis of a very good side. We want to keep improving, we’ve set a benchmark in that second half, and I expect to see a big improvement against Wales in a few days time.”
Following France’s win, South Africa Schools and Wales U18 took to the Boland Landbou field for a real thriller of a game. The lead went back and forth and was tight, if high scoring, right from the off.
South Africa took a 22-21 lead into half time after tries from Stravino Jacobs, Jean-Jacques Kotze, Mnombo Zwelindaba, and Celimpilo Gumede in response to Wales’ scores from Aneurin Owen, Joe Roberts, and Luke Yendle for Wales, Oakham’s Sam Costelow converting all three.
In the second half the scoring continued, Juan Mostert extended the South African lead to 29-21 only for Wales flanker Jac Morgan, who captains them against England tomorrow, scored a beauty to narrow the gap.
Costelow then put Wales in the lead as he scooped up a loose ball and raced across the line to send Wales 33-29 ahead with his conversion. South Africa regained the momentum when Wales second row Jac Price was sent to the sin-bin, Kotze capitalised from the resulting maul from the lineout after his side kicked the penalty to the corner, sending them back in front.
With just two minutes to go though, Wales thought they had won it. Openside Morgan won a penalty at the breakdown in the South African half and before anyone else had reacted, he had taken the quick tap and barged over for the try to give Wales the lead, and what felt like the win at 40-36.
Sport can be cruel at times though, and so it was for Wales here as a wayward lineout gave South Africa possession and after some tidy work from to gain position replacement scrum half Jurich Claasens spotted a gap and seared through to give his side the win at 43-40 with the conversion.
It was a thrilling end of a thrilling game, and with four games to come in the Aon U18 International Series it sets up for yet more excitement, beginning on Tuesday in Stellenberg with Wales taking on England and South Africa hosting France. You can see the team news for the huge Wales v England clash here: England and Wales make changes to Aon U18 International Series second round.
Aon U18 International Series Round 1 Results:
England U18 21-41 France U18
South Africa Schools 43-40 Wales U18
England U18 XV:
15 Louis Lynagh (Harlequins (Hampton), 14 Josh Gillespie (Northampton Saints & Millfield), 13 Lennox Anyanwu (Harlequins & Christ’s Hospital), 12 Josh Hallett (Saracens & New Hall), 11 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks & Wirral GS), 10 Tom Curtis (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh), 9 Callum Pascoe (Newcastle Falcons & Gosforth Academy), 1 James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers & Woodhouse Grove), 2 Alfie Barbeary (Wasps & Bloxham, captain), 3 Harvey Beaton (Saracens & Sutton Valence), 4 George Hammond (Harlequins & Whitgift), 5 George Martin (Leicester Tigers & Brooksby Melton College), 6 Harry Dugmore (Harlequins & Whitgift), 7 Jack Clement (Gloucester & Cheltenham College), 8 Nahum Merigan (Bath & Beechen Cliff).
Replacements 16 Sam Riley (Harlequins & St George’s Weybridge), 17 Rowan Mullis (Gloucester & Hartpury College), 18 Jack Hughes (Northampton Saints & Uppingham), 19 Chunya Munga (London Irish & Leighton Park), 20 Fin Rossiter (London Irish & Wellington College), 21 Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks & St Ambrose College), 22 George Barton (Gloucester & Dean Close), 23 Phil Cokanasiga (London Irish & St Pauls Catholic College), 24 Jack Bates (Bristol Bears & SGS Filton College), 25 Will Haydon-Wood (Newcastle Falcons & Sedbergh).
France U18 XV:
15 Tiberghien, 14 Dridi, 13 Falatea Moefana, 12 Fusier, 11 Dulon, 10 Dolhagaray, 9 Germain, 1 Eglaine, 2, Jutge (captain), 3 Ndiaye, 4 Maravat, 5 Warrion, 6 Peysson, 7 Haddad Victor, 8 Hamonou.
Replacements: 16 Lotrian, 17Sarragalet, 18 Ikahehegi, 19 Ployet, 20 Noah, 21 Viallard, 22 Moura, 23 Brosset, 24 Laget, 25 May, 26 Tani.
Wales U18 XV:
15 Ioan Lloyd (Clifton College/Bristol/Exiles), 14 Ewan Rosser (Coleg Gwent/Dragons), 13 Joe Roberts (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), 12 Aneurin Owen (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw/Dragons), 11 Louis Rees-Zammit (Hartpury College/Exiles), 10 Sam Costelow (Oakham/Exiles), 9 Dan Babos (Dragons Academy/Dragons), 1 Garyn Phillips (Coleg y Cymoedd/Cardiff Blues), 2 Cameron Lewis (Coleg Sir Gar/Ospreys), 3 Luke Yendle (Newport High/Dragons), 4 Teddy Williams (Ysgol Glantaf/Cardiff Blues), 5 Jac Price (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), 6 Robert Brookson (Coleg Gwent/Dragons, captain), 7 Jac Morgan (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), 8 Ioan Davies (Coleg y Cymoedd/Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: 16 Llew Phillips-Taylor (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), 17 Callum Williams (Maes y Gwendraeth/Scarlets), 18 Ben Warren (Coleg y Cymoedd/Cardiff Blues), 19 Archie Griffin (Marlborough College/Exiles), 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu (Sedbergh/Scarlets), 21 Olly White (Llandovery College/RGC), 22 Morgan French (Bromsgrove/Worcester), 23 Ellis Bevan (Bryanston/Exiles), 24 Evan Lloyd (Coleg Gwent/Dragons), 25 Harri Doel (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), 26 Morgan Richards (Newport High/Dragons), 27 Osian Knott (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets).
South Africa Schools XV:
15 Rynhardt Jonker (Sharks/Glenwood), 14 Lwandile Menze (Sharks/Durban High). 13 Muzilikazi Manyike (Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions/Jeppe Boys High, captain), 12 Mnombo Zwelindaba (Build-it Border/Selborne College), 11 Stravino Jacobs (DHL Western Province/Paarl Gymnasium), 10 Juan Mostert (DHL Western Province/Paul Roos Gymnasium), 9 Thomas Bursey (Build-it Border/Selborne College), 1 Dewald Donald (Ultimate Aim Blue Bulls/Affies), 2 Jean-Jacques Kotze (DHL Western Province/Paul Roos Gymnasium), 3 Herman Agenbag (Free State/Grey College), 4 Sibusiso Sangweni (Sharks/Kearsney College), 5 Emile van Heerden (DHL Western Province XV/Paarl Boys High), 6 Keketso Morabe (Thepa Trading Griffons/Welkom Gimnasium), 7 Mihlali Mgolodela (DHL Western Province/Rondebosch Boys High), 8 Celimpilo Gumede (Sharks/Durban HS).
Forwards: Jacques Goosen (Build-it Border/Selborne College), Thabiso Mdletshe (Sharks/Durban HS), Hanru Jacobs (DHL Western Province/Paul Roos Gymnasium), Lunga Ncube (Sharks/Glenwood), Uzile Tele (Build-it Border/Hudson Park HS), Adrian Alberts (DHL Western Province/Paarl Boys High), Tristan Dullisear (Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions/Monument), Jarrod Taylor (Build-it Border/Selborne College), Evan Roos (DHL Western Province/Paarl Boys High), De Wet Marais (Free State/Grey College).
Backs: Jurich Claasens (Ultimate Aim Blue Bulls/Garsfontein), Brendan Venter (DHL Western Province/Paul Roos Gymnasium), Wyclef Vlitoor (Free State/Grey College), Sibabalwe Xamlashe (Build-it Border/Selborne College), Darren Hendricks (DHL Western Province/Boland Landbou).
Aon U18 International Series Fixtures (all KOs BST):
Friday 10th August – Boland Landbou
England 21-41 France
South Africa Schools 43-40 Wales
Tuesday 14th August – Stellenberg
England v Wales – 1.15pm
South Africa Schools v France – 3pm
Saturday 18th August – SACS
France v Wales – 11.15am
South Africa Schools v England – 1.05pm