South African Schools beat France Under-19 21-14 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth after leading 16-0 at half-time.
It was not a great match.
France's discipline was bad. First Clément Ancely, who was sin-binned the previous Saturday, was sin-binned for putting his knee into the groin of Percy Williams, the Schools scrumhalf. That was in the first half. In the second half replacement flank Louis Durbesson was red-carded for stamping on the neck and head of Siyabonga Tom. Then just before the end Alban Placines was red-carded for kneeing Andrew Beerwinkel on the head. It was not edifying at all. All three incidents were clear on television replay. The French protested on each occasion but the protest was ill-founded and Ancely may have been fortunate that his card was only yellow.
In addition there were, especially early on, many penalties at the tackle, which told a story of non-continuity. Then the French scrumhalf Yohan Domenech was allowed too much latitude in trying to disrupt the back of the Schools scrum, pushing, going beyond the ball and getting into the scrum.
But perhaps the biggest change was the flood of substitutes the Schools side used, starting early in the second half as all 22 were given a game and momentum waned.
The sides each scored two tries though the second South African try was highly improbable as JP Lewis lost the ball as he dived for the corner in the tackle of Clément Vernezoul. The matter was not referred to the TMO.
As the second half wore on, France took over, bashing at the South African line for two close tries and on a third occasion they were held up by the Schools sturdy hooker Eugene Le Maitre who also made his side's second try.
Two penalties against Placines, once at a tackle and once for not being back 10 metres at a penalty, gave Tim Swiel kicks at goal and the Schools a 6-0 lead after 19 minutes.
The referee penalised Williams's at a tackle under the French posts but then Ancely kneed Williams in the groin and instead the Schools had a penalty which Swiel goaled. 9-0 after 30 minutes.
On the stroke of half-time, the Schools won a turnover and Dries Swanepoel broke running straight. He passed inside to ubiquitous flank Thabo Mabuza who burst past defenders and raced 30 metres to score under the posts. Mabuza has remarkable acceleration.
Terry Thomas, the big wing who was France's most threatening attacking weapon, ran and then inexplicably lost the ball to little Williams who raced downfield. He grubbered inside where the French defence was desperate and lost the ball but Swiel knocked on as he went over.
It was Le Maitre's break on the short side that gave Lewis the chance to score his dubious try. 21-0 after 46 minutes. Then the substituting started and then the game ebbed away from the schools.
Arnaud Smets got over under the posts but Le Maitre brilliantly held him up. But now it was all France. They were down to 14 men when they bashed at the Schools line and centre Thibaut Regard scored under the posts. 21-7 with 9 minutes to play.
Back they came as the Schools side started missing tackles and then right wing Gabriel Lacroix was over under the posts, 21-14 with two minutes left, time enough for Placines to be red-carded.
Man of the Match: Not easy as some of the best players were taken off but the most impressive was the everywhere express Thabo Mabuza, our Man of the Match.
For SA Schools:
Tries: Mabuza, Lewis
Pens: Swiel 3
For France Under-19:
Tries: Regard, Lacroix
Cons: Vernezoul 2
SA Schools: 15 Sean Robinson, 14 Siyabonga Tom, 13 Dries Swanepoel (vice-captain), 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jean Paul Lewis, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Percy Williams, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Leneve Damens, 6 Thabo Mabuza, 5 Jacques du Plessis, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Marne Coetzee, 2 Eugene Le Maitre, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Morné du Plessis, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Philip du Preez, 19 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 20 Nhlanhla Hlongwane, 21 Pieter Jordaan, 22 Tyler Fisher
Coaches: Poerie van Rooyen, Kenneth Joseph
France Under-19: 15 Hugo Veyssiere, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Thibaut Regard, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Enzo Selponi, 9 Yohan Domenech, 8 Clément Ancely, 7 Arnaud Smets, 6 Alban Placines, 5 Johan Alliouat, 4 Paul Jedrasiak (captain), 3 Khatchik Vartanov, 2 Christopher-Eric Tolofua, 1 Jean-Baptiste Custoja.
Replacements: 16 Cyril Baille, 17 Romain Hollet, 18 Pascal Cottet, 19 Steevy Cerqueira, 20 Louis Durbesson, 21 Clément Vernezoul, 22 Anderson Neisen, 23 Baptiste Perrot, 24 Quentin Pillet
Coaches: Gérald Bastide, Philippe Agostini
Referee: Lusanda Jam (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Joey Salmans (South Africa), Roslyn Fortuin (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.