The South African U18s on Friday kicked off their 2010 High Performance programme to the perfect start after they recorded a convincing 25-5 victory over the France U18s at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London.
The hosts scored two tries which were added by fullback Craig Barry in the second half but were always in control of this international friendly after they managed to build up a solid 15-0 half time lead.
SA Schools flyhalf for 2010 Johan Goosen, who notched up 15 points with the boot, was the sole points’ scorer for the hosts in the first half after he kicked five penalties in difficult windy conditions in East London.
In the second half it was Barry who scored the SA U18s’ other points after he scored the game’s first try in the 46th minute and then again in the 61st minute of play. Goosen though missed both conversion attempts.
France’s only points came in the 58th minute of the game when winger Joris Fusier brushed off two SA defenders five meters from the try line to dive in and score the French U18s’ five-pointer. The conversion attempt was missed by flyhalf Mallett Vincent who also missed two penalty kicks at goal.
The South Africans dominated their French counterparts up front and boasted a boasted a superior line out between the two sides. The hosts were also solid on defence and rarely allowed the France U18s much forward momentum throughout the game.
Locks Ruan Venter and Ruan Botha were the stand out performers for the hosts in the line-outs, while the starting front row combination of Steven Kitshoff, Justin van Wyk and Allan Dell also kept their opponents under pressure at scrum time.
Paul Jordaan, playing at outside centre in the match for the injured William Small-Smith, and Andile Jho also troubled the French at the back. Jordaan in particular broke the defensive lines on two occasions – one of those breaks resulting in Barry’s second try.
However the player of the game was the Free State Cheetahs’ Coca-Cola U18 Craven Week flyhalf Goosen. The pivot dictated the game well in the first half and kept his side moving forward with his tactical kicks in the second half when the SA U18s were playing into the strong wind at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London.
Goosen linked up well with his Grey College scrumhalf Kevin Luiters in the first 35 minutes and then later with Blue Bulls Coca-Cola U18 Craven Week scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen.
The SA U18s will now depart for George when they will start preparations for their second International friendly against a Namibian XV at the Outeniqua Stadium on Tuesday at 15h00. The hosts will then wrap up their 2010 High Performance programme in Port Elizabeth next Friday when they host the England U18s at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at 15h00.
South Africa U18 – Tries: Craig Barry (2); Penalties: Johan Goosen (5).
France U18 – Try: Joris Fusier.