Wales U18 win again in South Africa

Wales Under 18 hung on register another famous victory on South African soil as they made it two wins in a row this year over arch-rivals England with a 14-12 triumph in Cape Town.

Three days after they beat the South African Schools for the first time, 30-28, in their opening game in the Under 19 International Series they notched their first win over England in the competition to make it back-to-back victories. They now go on to face France later in the week.

The Welsh side, showing five changes to the line-up that faced the Springboks, dominated the first half in wet and treacherous conditions and found themselves leading 14-0 at the break thanks to two tries. They more than matched the English pack up front and were far more creative behind.

Having beaten their English rivals 29-19 at Ebbw Vale earlier in the year Tom Reffell's side were seeking a notable double and were good value for their victory in the end, even though they had to rely on a missed conversion with the last kick of the game to secure the win.

The rugged Welsh pack laid the foundation for victory in the first half as they drove England back at the scrums and dealt with their opponents driving line-out. Behind the scrum it took some time to get around the blitz defence employed in the terrible conditions, but all the ambition came from Wales.

Just as they had done against South Africa, Wales struck early with a try after only four minutes by Scarlets full back Tomi Lewis. Ben Thomas kicked cross-field into the English 22 from the 10 metres line and Lewis and fellow Scarlets team mate Tom Rogers gave chase and forced England full back Ollie Hassell-Collins into an error.

The loose ball was hacked on and Lewis got the touch down in the right corner. Thomas added an excellent conversion and Wales were flying.

Thomas had two attempts to kick ling-range penalties, one from a metre inside his own half, to try to increase the lead, but both attempts were wide. But the Blues No 10 was right on the mark from the touchline after Scarlets tight head prop Kemsley Mathias crashed over in the corner on the stroke of half-time.

The Welsh pack had been hunting for a try from close range and a wonderful pop pass from another Scarlets player, lock Morgan Jones, created the space for Mathias to just reach the corner and get the verdict from the TMO.

Wales were good value for their interval lead and thwarted the English side throughout the majority of the second half. Just as they had done against South Africa, they conceded two tries in the final five minutes, yet still emerged triumphant.

Both tries fell to replacement hooker Will Capon and came from a combined distance of around 18 inches. Cameron Redpath added the extras to the first one, but fatally missed with his conversion attempt for the second.
That allowed Wales to claim victory by two points and head into their third and final game brim full of confidence.


Wales: Tries: T Lewis, K Mathias; Cons: B Thomas 2; 
England: Tries: W Capon 2; Con: C Redpath

Wales U18: Tomi Lewis (Scarlets); Tom Rogers (Scarlets), Callum Carson (Ospreys), Scott Lloyd (Scarlets), Joe Roberts (Scarlets); Ben Thomas (Blues), Callum Morris (Scarlets); Jordan Walters (Ospreys), Morgan Nelson (Gloucester), Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets), Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets), Morgan Jones (Scarlets), Ben Fry (Hartpurty College), Tom Reffell (Leicester Tigers, captain), Taine Basham (Dragons)

Reps: Will Griffiths (Dragons), Joshua Reynolds (Dragons), Ben Warren (Blues), Joe Miles (Blues), Lennon Greggains (Dragons), Daniel Davis (Scarlets), Harri Morgan (Ospreys), Cai Evans (Ospreys)

England U18: Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish); Tom Seabrook (Gloucester), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), Tom de Glanville (Bath); Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie); George Head (Harlequins), Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors), Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors), Josh Basham London Irish), Alex Coles Northampton Saints), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), Tom Willis (Wasps, captain)

Reps: Tom Rowland (Bristol Rugby), Will Capon (Bristol Rugby), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), James Scott (Worcester Warriors), Sam Moore (Sale Sharks), Will Porter (Wasps), Sam Spink (Wasps), Nick David Worcester Warriors)