The SA Schools rugby team got off to a winning start in the SARU Under-18 International Series on Friday afternoon when they defeated France 28-13 at the City Park Stadium in Crawford, Cape Town.
They scored four converted tries, two in each half, to maintain their perfect record of the past four years against Northern Hemisphere opposition. In the earlier match, England managed to beat Wales 24-21.
Next Wednesday in George, the SA Schools will be in action against Wales while England face France, also at the Outeniqua Park Stadium.
At City Park Jaco Coetzee and his SA Schools team elected to play into a strong wind in the first half. They started slowly and preferred a kicking game, while France again dominated territory.
However, the first chance to score fell to SA Schools flyhalf, Curwin Bosch, who was unable to convert his penalty. Bosch later made amends by slotting all four conversions.
France U18 scored the first try of the match when scrumhalf Antione Dupont dummied his way through to score under the posts.
They continued to pressurize the home team, but the South African proved to be dangerous on the counter attack, which later allowed them to score twice from quick turnover ball.
The SA Schools leveled matters when wing Andell Loubser scored after a good piece of individual skill by Bosch, who sent his winger away with a clever inside pass.
Anthony Belleau, the French flyhalf, slotted a penalty which allowed his side to regain the lead at 10-7. A few minutes later the home team fell further behind after a Belleau drop goal.
However, the match swung into South Africa’s favour and the lively Bosch again played a pivot role in the next try, scored by outside centre Barend Smith. Bosch slotted the conversion to hand the SA Schools a slender 14-13 lead at halftime.
Five minutes after the resumption lock Jaco Willemse powered his way over for a well-deserved converted try. The French tried their best but the SA Schools forward kept the pressure on them with some good movements.
Right at the end, Loubser rounded off a good performance for the SA Schools when he dotted his second try after a slick backline movement.
SA Schools - 28: Tries: Andell Loubser (2), Barend Smith, Jaco Willemse. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4).
France U18 - 13: Tries: Antoine Dupont. Conversion: Anthony Belleau. Penalty: Belleau. Drop goal: Belleau.