Captain Salmaan Moerat scored a last-gasp try as SA Schools beat England 13-12 at Paarl Boys’ High on Saturday.
SA Schools struck first with fullback Gianni Lombard slotting a penalty goal in the 17th minute, after missing an earlier attempt. The lead, however, was short-lived as England scored a try from a pick-and-go by No 8 Tom Willis.
Both teams were dealt a blow soon after as they were reduced to 14 men, while England found themselves playing with 13 men for three minutes in the closing stages of the half as they received a second yellow card.
The hosts, in particular, showed courage on attack as they ran hard at England, but mistakes at crucial times combined with the visitors’ tenacious defence left them trailing 5-3 at the break.
The second half was equally intense, but England used their powerful forwards well to force their way onto the front foot, and it paid off as Willis scored his second try to hand them a 12-3 lead.
Lombard slotted his second penalty goal in the 54th minute to reduce the deficit to 12-6, before Moerat crashed over on the stroke of full-time. The successful conversion by Lombard sealed the 13-12 win.
‘The guys hung in there and showed guts and good character,’ said SA Schools coach Lance Sendin. ‘The players became men today because this was a hard-fought test match. The victory was also just reward for all their hard work, and I am very proud that they finished the tournament unbeaten.’
SA Schools – Try: Salmaan Moerat. Conversion: Gianni Lombard. Penalties: Lombard (2).
England – Tries: Tom Willis (2). Conversion: James Grayson.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images