Wales survive England's late surge
U19 INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL REPORTS: Wales' clinical first-half performance proved to be enough to secure a narrow 14-12 victory over England at Paarl Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Rainy conditions put a damper on much of the play, which is evident in the low score. The teams scored two tries a piece with a Ben Thomas conversion proving to be the difference.
It took England 64 minutes to break their duck. The side chased the game before a brace by replacement Will Griffith ensured a more respectable scoreline and a dramatic end.
At first, Wales struggled with the heavy England forward pack. Nonetheless, Wales' attack soon used the width of the field to put England under pressure. The technique proved productive as Wales went up 7-0 after just five minutes.
Fullback Tomi Lewis darted down in the corner after being set up Thomas' great chip kick. Flyhalf Thomas added the extras, 7-0.
Kieran Wilkinson tried to put Wales under pressure inside their own half but his cross kicked just lack accuracy. On the 15-minute mark, the side could have scored the five points, however, instead of lining up the pick-and-drives Wilkinson again opted for another failed cross kick attempt.
England's trouble was amplified, the side went down to 14-men after Alex Coles was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and offside inside his own 22.
Lucky for England, Ben Thomas failed capitalised and the score remained 7-0.
Just before the break, Wales had an attacking line-out in the red zone. The side produced a rolling maul and prop Kemsley Mathias bulldozed over the chalk. At first, it seemed the prop lost it in contact but the TMO ruled it was a try, 12-0.
Thomas added the extras for a 14-0 lead as the sides headed to the lockers.
As the second-half commenced Wales continued to utilize their big forwards and could have scored but captain Tom Reffell failed to hold onto the ball.
After 45 minutes of play, England started to adjust their technique and threatened the Wales' defence for the first time. Unfortunately for England, a knock-on inside the red zone kept the duck in full round shape.
As the rain started to clear up, Thomas' out of hand kicks won great territory for Wales. The flyhalf launched a perfect kick from his own half for an attacking line-out on England's five. Consequently, Wales won the line-out and replacement Will Griffith collected the ball and burst through two defenders.
However, the TMO could not see the ball being grounded, and England survived the onslaught.
With four minutes left on the clock drama unfolded. England piled on the pressure inside the Wales' half and after continues pick-and-drives Will Capon powered over the line.
Centre Scott Lloyd added the extras to trail, 7-14.
The try ignited the England attack, and with just a twig in their line-out, they had a rolling maul inside the Wales' five. After some phases, Capon powered over in the corner for his brace of tries.
Lloyd stepped up and failed to add the extras. The side had to settle for a narrow 12-14 defeat.
Tries: Lewis, Mathias
Cons: Thomas 2
Tries: Capon 2
Yellow card: Alex Coles (England, 24 - off side and deliberate knock-on)
Wales: 15 Tomi Lewis, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Callum Carson, 12 Scott Lloyd, 11 Joe Roberts, 10 Ben Thomas, 9 Callum Morris, 8 Taine Basham, 7 Tom Reffell (captain), 6 Ben Fry, 5 Morgan Jones, 4 Lewis Ellis-Jones, 3 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Morgan Nelson, 1 Jordan Walters.
Replacements: 16 Will Griffiths, 17 Joshua Reynolds, 18 Ben Warren, 19 Joe Miles, 20 Lennon Greggains, 21 Daniel Davis, 22 Harri Morgan, 23 Cai Evans.
England: 15 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Cadan Murley, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Tom de Glanville, 10 Kieran Wilkinson, 9 Ollie Fox, 8 Tom Willis (captain), 7 Aaron Hinkley, 6 Richard Capstick, 5 Alex Coles, 4 Josh Basham, 3 Nick Rigby, 2 Beck Cutting, 1 George Head.
Replacements: 16 Tom Rowland, 17 Will Capon, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 James Scott, 20 Sam Moore, 21 Will Porter, 22 Sam Spink, 23 Nick David.
Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Divan Uys (South Africa), Kwezi Mqomboti (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)