SA Schools run away with France
REPORT: At Bishops on Tuesday afternoon, SA Schools beat France Under-19 42-3 after a slow start.
The sky was blue, the mountains were majestic and the wind lost its energy in time for the main match of three. The crowd grew with a goodly contingent of boys from Paarl Boys' High who had five players in the side, including the captain Salmaan Moerat.
It was a good afternoon for the South Africans, for the Schools A (second) team walloped England 53-14 and then the Schools team also won by 39 points against France who had beaten England last Friday.
Flair, elan and panache are originally French words and when used in rugby almost exclusively belong to France. They were not a part of France's playing vocabulary on this day.
Playing with the breeze, they dominated the early part of the game - certainly the possession and territory, and ended the half losing 21-3. There was a lack of rhythm and creativity in their backs. Their whole side preferred to run to the take a tackle whereas the smaller, swifter South Africans looked to put team-mates into space, more and more as they shook off their early diffidence. The South Africans passed in good time while the French seemed to use a pass to get out of trouble rather than to create an opportunity.
France's early pressure earned them three points when flyhalf Romain Ntamack, son of the great Emile Ntamack, goaled a penalty. 3-0 after just 2 minutes.
In this match, South Africa were penalised far more often than the French, the weakest aspect of the home side's play.
The early part of the match belonged almost entirely to France, but then Manny Rass broke and gave to left wing Muller du Plessis who raced down the left and round to the posts. Gianni Lombard converted as he did five times in the match, and SA Schools led 7-3 after 19 minutes.
The next try came three minutes later. France knocked on and South Africa counterattacked down the left with elusive Lombard at his rapid best. Stopped, scrumhalf Richman Gora passed inside to Moerat who powered over for his first try.
France attacked in ponderous fashion and the South African defence was stout and never looked like cracking. At this stage, they had made 46 tackles to France's 19.
From a free kick Lombard and Rass had South Africa on the attack. Rass was close and then Willemse and then Ras again even closer and then an abrupt hand-off and a powerful thrust put Moerat in for his second try. 21-3, which was the half-time score.
Three minutes into the second half South Africa scored again. They went through advancing phases and Rass broke. Moerat found Mike Mavovana with a long pass and he raced some 35 metres down the touchline for a try on the right. 28-3.
France sent on massive prop Walid Maamry and used him often as a go-to man but it is doubtful if he ever managed to advance as much as a metre.
South Africa attacked down the left but a great tackle by Ntamack on Muller du Plessis prevented a try and now France started running from inside their own 22. Ntamack had a promising break into South African territory but the home side got possession and attacked at speed. Muller du Plessis, Lombard and Ras were right at the line in the left corner and got the ball back to Damian Willemse, their outstanding flyhalf, who scored. 35-3 with 12 minutes to play.
The South Africans gave their bench a chance to play. Sihle Njezula came on and went to the left wing while Muller du Plessis went to the right.
France went through phases but South Africa had the last say. From a line-out near the half-way line on their left, they went right. Rikus Pretorius broke and gave a perfect pass to Muller du Plessis on his right and the wing raced through for his last try. Ruan de Swardt, on for Willemse, converted and there was barely time for the kick-off before the referee sounded the final whistle.
For South Africa:
Tries: Muller du Plessis (2), Salmaan Moerat (2), Mike Mavovana, Damian Willemse.
Cons: Gianni Lombard, Ruan De Swardt.
Pen: Romain Ntamack
SA Schools: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Mike Mavovana, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Muller du Plessis, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Richman Gora, 8 Kwezi Mafu, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Charl Serdyn, 5 Ben-Jason Dixon, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Sanzi Sandi, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Nathan McBeth
Replacements: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Reece Bezuidenhout, 18 Johan Neethling, 19 PJ Steenkamp, 20 JC Pretorius, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Ruan de Swardt, 23 Wandisile Simelane, 24 Khanya Ncusane, 25 Emilio Adonis, 26 Sihle Njezula
France: 15 Clément Laporte, 14 Maxime Marty, 13 Julien Delbouis, 12 Jules Even, 11 Iban Etcheverry, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Enzo Hardy, 8 Adrien Vigne, 7 Baptiste Heguy, 6 Cameron Woki, 5 Pierre-Henri Azagoh Kouadio, 4 Killian Geraci, 3 Daniel Brennan (captain), 2 Teddy Baubigny, 1 Brendan Boniface
Replacements: 16 Maxime Lamothe, 17 Ugo Lebrun, 18 Dorian Clerc, 19 Alexandre Coing, 20 Walid Maamry, 21 Adrien Jozroland, 22 Jules Gimbert, 23 Adrien Seguret, 24 Pierre Tournebize
Referee: Matthew O'Grady (England)
Assistant referees: Ruhan Meiring (South Africa), Nathan Swartz (South Africa)
Television match official: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
France vs England, 23-18
Italy vs SA Schools A, 23-20
SA Schools vs Wales, 23-17
Wales vs Italy, 41-15
SA Schools vs England, 53-14
SA Schools vs France, 42-3
Fixtures for Round 3
The matches will be played at Paarl Boys' High on Saturday.
11.15: France vs Italy
12.45: SA Schools A vs Wales
14.15: SA Schools vs England