THE SA Schools rugby team showed nerves of steel on Saturday to hold on to a narrow 14-13 lead against Wales in their final clash in the International under-18 Series in Worcester to complete the series unbeaten.
Strong winds complicated matters for both teams and forced them to eliminate kicking from their game.
Welsh flyhalf Luke Price opened the scoring for the visitors in the 14th minute thanks to a scrum penalty following a few tight exchanges.
SA hit back with Jean-Luc du Preez scoring a fantastic team try, which flyhalf Brandon Thomson converted for a 7-3 lead.
But their lead was short-lived as Wales right wing Ashton Hewitt out- sprinted two defenders to dot down from a perfect grubber kick which gave them a one-point lead.
The home team continued to stamp their authority as the half neared a close. The pressure eventually got to Wales which allowed Leolin Zass to cross the tryline. Thomson converted, which gave SA a 14-8 lead at the break.
SA’s forwards continued to lay a solid platform up-front, which allowed them to spend a fair amount of time in Wales’ half.
Wales, however, earned the rewards for using their forwards to edge their way over the advantage line, with Hewitt scoring his second try after finding space on the right side of the field following a strong showing by the pack. But they again failed to convert, leaving the team one point behind on 14-13.
Wales managed to win a turnover in SA’s 22 in the final seconds and tried hard to breach the defence to snatch a last-minute victory. But their efforts proved fruitless as SA held them out for the victory.
In the earlier matches, England beat France 12-8 and the Italian U18 team registered a 36-12 victory against a Boland XV.