France too Good for SA Schools
U19 INTERNATIONAL REPORT: In the second round of the international Under-19 tournament, played at Paarl Gimnasium, France beat South African Schools 13-8, and deserved to do so.
It is remarkable that South Africa, which has some of the very best rugby schools in the world, puts into the field a South African Schools side that looks so disorganised and so devoid of ideas.
It may just have been that the best South African performance of the afternoon was that of a Paarl Gim Girl, Chrisli Hamman, singing the national anthem.
The French had ideas. They dominated possession and, until the last ten minutes, territory. They were better at line-outs, scrums and tackles. It seems remarkable that with all that they won by such a small margin.
But there were times when their attacks were scuppered by selfishness, their hands were not always secure and they were heavily penalised. Perhaps the best of their achievements was their defence of their own line when, because of penalties, the SA Schools side three five-metre line-outs in a row.
This happened once in the first half and once in the second half. The South Africans bashed and bashed but France's Maginot line, this time, let nobody through.
It was cold in Paarl after heavy rain. The rain stayed away for the match but a wind of sorts blew. France played with the wind in the first half but it seemed not to have a meaningful effect on the game.
France, in red, kicked off, and South African Schools were the first to run with the ball, sending it elegantly down the line. That was the only time they really tried it.
The first bit of real attack was a break through the midfield by France's hooker, Maxime Lamothe, the captain of the team.
The first moment that threatened a try was a run down the right by France's Arthur Vincent. He had two unmarked players with him but decided that he was the right one to score, and Christopher Schreuder and Dylan Richardson combined to prevent him from grounding the ball.
The first scored was a penalty kicked by fullback Matthis Lebel when the Schools were penalised for a deliberate knock-on. 3-0 after 17 minutes.
The South Africans then had three penalties which produced three five-metre line-outs but a knock-on foiled their attack.
The first try was scored by No.8 Alban Roussell. France were bashing at the line and he was the one to score the try from close range. 8-0, and that was the half-time score.
Early in the second half, South African Schools scored their try. France overthrew a line-out and Richardson grabbed it at the back and ran at the French. The South Africans went wide right where Diego Appollis forced his way far enough beyond two defenders to get the ball down for a try. 8-5 after 39 minutes.
Two minutes later it was 8-all when Schreuder goaled a penalty.
South African Schools was close to disaster straight afterwards. Simon Desaubies kicked off to the left and Lucas Poirson plucked the ball out of the air. He raced off to the goal-line but Sanele Nohamba tackled him and the TMO found that Poirson had lost the ball forward in trying to goal it on the line.
On the left wing, in broken play, Muller du Plessis received a pass, a great surprise. He was on the touch line and played the ball back inside, straight into the hands of burly Maxence Lemardelet, a substitute, who raced straight to the right corner to score. 13-8 after 48 minutes.
There were 22 minutes still to play but there was no further score.
France had a good chance when South African handling went awry and France footed through. Bravely, Kennedy Mpeku got the ball near his line as three Frenchmen descended on him. But they were not all legal and were penalised for diving on a player on the ground.
South African Schools had a series of penalties, five-metre line-outs and lots of bashing,but the French repelled them. Keagan Glade actually grounded the ball on the line but the referee and the TMO decided that he had moved illegally to do so and the referee, who had been playing advantage, went back to a penalty.
South African Schools kicked for touch but instead kicked the ball dead and France kicked a long drop-out with a minute to play. A South African knock-on ended the match.
Tries: Alban Roussel, Maxence Lemardelet
Pen: Matthis Lebel
For South African Schools:
Try: Diego Appollis
Pen: Christopher Schreuder
SA Schools: 15 Qamani Kota, 14 Kennedy Mpeku, 13 Diego Appollis, 12 Yanga Hlalu, 11 Muller du Plessis, 10 Christopher Schreuder, 9 Sanele Nohamba,8 Travis Gordon (captain), 7 Dylan Richardson, 6 Mark Snyman, 5 Cristen van Niekerk, 4 Juan van der Mescht, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Jordan Clarke.
Replacements: 16 Ruhann Greyling, 17 Banele Mthenjane, 18 Keagan Glade, 19 Celimpilo Gumede, 20 Jaden Hendrikse, 21 Rikus Pretorius, 22 Conan le Fleur, 23 Nkosikhona Masuku, 24 Morné Brandon, 25 Phendulani Buthelezi, 26 Henco Martins, 27 Vian Fourie.
France: 15 Matthis Lebel, 14 Vincent Pinto, 13 Aurélien Labau, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Lucas Poirson, 10 Simon Desaubies, 9 Mathéo Rodor, 8 Alban Roussel, 7 Mathieu Tixier, 6 Sven Bernat, 5 Florent Vanverberghe, 4 Thomas Lavault, 3 Giorgi Beria, 2 Maxime Lamothe (captain), 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Replacements: 16 Donovan Taofifenua, 17 Alexandre De Nardi, 18 Antoine Zeghdar, 19 Alexandre Gouaux, 20 Maxence Lemardelet, 21 Arthur Vignolles, 22 Loïc Hocquet, 23 Lucas Guillermin, 24 Franck Lascassies, 25 Valentin Seille.
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Divan Uys (South Africa), Kwezi Mqomboti (South Africa)
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans (South Africa)