Two unanswered second half tries confirmed the growing dominance the South Africans displayed as the match progressed in a confidence boosting win.

Much was said after the local side's defeat to France earlier in the week, but the wholesale changes made by coach Katleho Lynch clearly had the required outcomes. The team in green were eager, enthusiastic, and clinical on attack and defence and this performance will be well received in the junior ranks.

The SA U18s started well and had a good opening spell but could not quite finish to give justice to their effort. It was England who got the first points of the match when giant lock Junior Kpoku scored after 10 minutes. England had better control on attack and when Angus Hall converted, they were 7-0 up.

South Africa's response was immediate though and it came through a delightful try by fullback JC Mars. England were under pressure from the restart and a poor clearance kick found Mars combining with flyhalf Kyle Smith and wing Scott Nel at the fullback stepped inside the final defender to score under the posts. Smith converted to level the scores.

Credit to England for their response. South Africa were not great in clearing their lines from restarts in the first half and the visitors pounced. From the restart, the men in white gained possession and outside centre Nick Lilley ran a brilliant line to score. Hall converted and the seven-point lead was restored (14-7) after 15 minutes.

But then SA U18 centre Gino Cupido scored a lovely counter-attacking try to level scores. Again, it was started by Mars from within his half and more creative passing saw Cupido using his pace to go over under the posts. Smith converted to make it 14-all after 25 minutes.

Gino Cupido scored one of the SA U18s' five tries.

Gino Cupido scored one of the SA U18s' five tries.

Cheswill Jooste's try then handed South Africa the lead they would not surrender again. The backs attacked well in loose play and although the final pass to Jooste was sloppy, the wing managed to gather and stepped away from the defenders. This try - converted from a tight angle by Smith - gave SA the lead (21-14) for the first time after 28 minutes. 

Toby Baker scored from the restart as SA again could not exit from their own half and turned the ball over to England, who attacked well to ultimately score. The conversion attempt went wide and the hosts remained in the lead.

Siphosethu Mnebelele thought he scored in the final play of the half after England could not find their jumpers and the SA U18 hooker busted through a number of tackles, only to be called back for a double movement in what would have been an outstanding try.

The second half did not deliver the same fluency, but that was mainly to the number of errors forced on England by the home side. The smothering SA defence forced the visitors into wild and sloppy passes, and it resulted in a stop-start affair with scrums followed by yet another handling error.

SA U18 captain and No 8 JJ Theron scored after a number of pick and drives by his pack to stretch their lead to 28-19, and after that there was only going to be one winner. Smith attempted long-range penalty effort, but the strong Paarl wind had the final say.

Nel scored after 56 minutes, again in a combination of individual effort and good team play. The ball was worked through the hands following a turnover and the right wing grubbered the ball ahead and dotted down. The conversion was wide, but the lead was significant.

Nel then made a try-saving tackle soon after as England had a rare visit to the SA red zone to sum up the hosts' effort. England attacked hard in the last minutes, but the South African defence was too solid and determined to concede.

Earlier, France outplayed the Western Province XV 85-20.


South Africa 33 (21) - Tries: JC Mars, Gino Cupido, Cheswill Jooste, JJ Theron, Scott Nel. Conversions: Kyle Smith (4).

England 19 (19) - Tries: Junior Kpoku, Nick Lilley, Toby Baker. Conversions: Angus Hall (2).