Wales U18 beat England U18 14-12 in the second round of the U19 International Series at Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl, South Africa.
It puts Wales at the top of the bunch in the series, with two wins from two after they beat South Africa in the opening round. England, South Africa, and France, meanwhile, are all tied on one win and one loss after England beat France in the opener, and France today beat South Africa 13-8.
With England meeting South Africa at 1pm (BST) on Saturday and France meeting Wales at 11.15 on the same day, it should be a fascinating final round.
It was a dramatic game between England and Wales at Paarl Gymnasium, with Wales taking a 14-0 lead, only for England to stage a late comeback through two Will Capon (Bristol Grammar School) tries. Sedbergh’s Cameron Redpath slotted the first conversion, but with the very last kick of the game his second just drifted wide from a tough angle, denying England the draw and securing the win for this spirited Welsh side, whose win over South Africa was similarly close, 30-28.
Wales 14-0 lead was already established at half time thanks to tries at the beginning and end of the half, first through Tomi Lewis, then by Kemsley Mathias, with Ben Thomas converting both. In between times England were on top in terms of both possession and territory, but in torrid conditions they kicked too much ball away in and around their opponents’ 22.
With three minutes remaining, replacement hooker Capon, who also scored against France, burst over the line to give his side a slight chance, particularly with Repath converting.
At 14-7 down and heading into the closing minute though, England knew they were fighting for a draw at best, in reality. It was crucial therefore to get close to the posts as well as to score.
Score they did, once again through Capon, who powered over from close range following a sweeping counter attack that took his side within inches of the line. Unfortunately for England though, it was still a wide angle and while Redpath connected well, it just inched wide.
It was a glorious win for Wales, their first over England on one of these annual trips to South Africa, and their second of the season having beaten them 29-19 at Ebbw Vale earlier this year.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game, Redpath reflected on that period of dominance but no points in the first half as they key:
“We got up there in the first half but just didn’t execute at the very end and that’s what you have to do at this level, execute all the chances you get, in the second half we brought it back, they didn’t score a point in the second half which was nice to see, a tough game, hats off to the Welsh.”
“We’ve learnt a lot from these two games, now we have to bring it to South Africa Schools to get a win. We have a very good chance so we’re all looking forward to that.”
Full Time: England U18 12-14 Wales U18
England U18 XV:
15 Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish &St Paul’s)
14 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester & Dean Close)
13 Cadan Murley (Harlequins &Bishop Wordsworth’s)
12 Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
11 Tom de Glanville (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
10 Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks & Kirkham GS)
9 Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie & New College, Pontefract)
1 George Head (Harlequins & Tonbridge)
2 Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors & Bromsgrove)
3 Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors & Warwick)
4 Josh Basham (London Irish & Wellington College)
5 Alex Coles (Northampton Saints & The Perse)
6 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College)
7 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester & St Peter’s, Gloucester)
8 Tom Willis (Wasps & Henley College, captain)
Replacements: 16 Tom Rowland (Bristol Rugby & Bristol GS), 17 Will Capon (Bristol Rugby & Bristol GS), 18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers & Wyggeston & QEI College), 19 James Scott (Worcester Warriors & Malvern College), 20 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh), 21 Will Porter (Wasps & Merchant Taylors’), 22 Sam Spink (Wasps & Wellington College), 23 Nick David Worcester Warriors & Warwick).
Not in Matchday Squad: Aaron Reed (Sale Sharks & Kirkham Grammar School), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints & Bedford), and Joe Tunney (Wasps & Dr Challoners)
Wales U18 XV:
15 Tomi Lewis (Scarlets)
14 Tom Rogers (Scarlets)
13 Callum Carson (Ospreys)
12 Scott Lloyd (Scarlets)
11 Joe Roberts (Scarlets)
10 Ben Thomas (Blues)
9 Callum Morris (Scarlets)
1 Jordan Walters (Ospreys)
2 Morgan Nelson (Gloucester)
3 Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets)
4 Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets)
5 Morgan Jones (Scarlets)
6 Ben Fry (Hartpurty College)
7 Tom Reffell (Leicester Tigers, captain)
8 Taine Basham (Dragons)
Replacements: 16 Will Griffiths (Dragons), 17 Joshua Reynolds (Dragons), 18 Ben Warren (Blues), 19 Joe Miles (Blues), 20 Lennon Greggains (Dragons), 21 Daniel Davis (Scarlets), 22 Harri Morgan (Ospreys), 23 Cai Evans (Ospreys).
U19 International Series Fixtures & Results:
Friday 11th August: Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch
13:15 France 8-24 England
15:00 SA Schools 28-30 Wales
Tuesday 15th August: Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl
13:15 England 12-14 Wales
15:00 SA Schools 8-13 France
Saturday 19th August: City Park, Athlone
11:15 France v Wales
13:00 SA Schools v England