The Coca-Cola SA Schools rugby team got off to a winning start in the SARU Under-18 International Series on Friday afternoon when they defeated France 28-13 at the City Park Stadium in Crawford, Cape Town.
They scored four converted tries, two in each half, to maintain their perfect record of the past four years against Northern Hemisphere opposition. In the earlier match, England managed to beat Wales 24-21.
The Coca-Cola SA Schools will be in action against Wales on Wednesday, while England face France, also at the Outeniqua Park Stadium.
At City Park Jaco Coetzee and his Coca-Cola SA Schools team elected to play into a strong wind in the first half. They started slowly and preferred a kicking game, while France again dominated territory.
However, the first chance to score fell to Coca-Cola SA Schools flyhalf, Curwin Bosch, who was unable to convert his penalty. Bosch later made amends by slotting all four conversions.
France U18 scored the first try of the match when scrumhalf Antione Dupont dummied his way through to score under the posts.
They continued to pressurize the home team, but the South African proved to be dangerous on the counter attack, which later allowed them to score twice from quick turnover ball.
The Coca-Cola SA Schools leveled matters when wing Andell Loubser scored after a good piece of individual skill by Bosch, who sent his winger away with a clever inside pass.
Anthony Belleau, the French flyhalf, slotted a penalty which allowed his side to regain the lead at 10-7. A few minutes later the home team fell further behind after a Belleau drop goal.
However, the match swung into South Africa’s favour and the lively Bosch again played a pivot role in the next try, scored by outside centre Barend Smith. Bosch slotted the conversion to hand the Coca-Cola SA Schools a slender 14-13 lead at halftime.
Five minutes after the resumption lock Jaco Willemse powered his way over for a well-deserved converted try. The French tried their best but the Coca-Cola SA Schools forward kept the pressure on them with some good movements.
Right at the end, Loubser rounded off a good performance for the Coca-Cola SA Schools when he dotted his second try after a slick backline movement.
The Coca-Cola Hero of the day for day 2 of the Coca-Cola Craven Week, Curwin Bosch, had an outstanding game and once again produces moments of brilliance. There were two game changes that he was involved in, the first was when SA were 7-0 down and France were on the attack. Curwin intercepted the ball and ran half the lenght of the field before passing the ball inside to his support before the ball ended up in Andell Loubser's hands for him to dot down and equal matters 7-7.
The second moment came just before halftime where France were 13-7 up. South Africa were in possession of the ball in a rare occasion in France's territory. There looked to be nothing on when Curwin got the ball and sold a dummy that everyone except for himself fell for and found space to run in. He eventually passed the ball out to Barend Smith who jogged over the line and put the Coca-Cola SA Schools team in an unlikely lead. Curwin converted both tries.
The Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven week is where heroes are made and it is fantastic to see a potential hero emerging in Curwin Bosch.
Coca-Cola SA Schools - 28: Tries: Andell Loubser (2), Barend Smith, Jaco Willemse. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4).
France U18 - 13: Tries: Antoine Dupont. Conversion: Anthony Belleau. Penalty: Belleau. Drop goal: Belleau.
This is the second in a series of three articles on Schools Rugby. We will be giving away four tickets to a Rugby Championship match to one lucky reader at end of the series . The last article will be published on the 23rd of August.