England U18 were beaten 14-12 by Wales in the second game of their development tour at Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl, South Africa.

England had won their opening game of the ‘U19 International Series’, defeating France 24-8 in Stellenbosch, last week.

Wales led 14-0 at the break through converted tries from Tomi Lewis and Kemsley Mathias, and narrowly held onto that lead, despite two late tries from England’s Will Capon and a conversion from Cameron Redpath.

England next face South Africa Schools on Saturday 19 August at City Park, Athlone in the final game of their tour.

Wales struck first through fullback Lewis, who pounced on a well weighted cross-field kick over the England defence. It was converted by Thomas to take the score to 7-0 inside the first five minutes.

Unfazed, John Fletcher’s men began to build phases and made their way into opposition territory, enjoying dominance at set piece and surging toward the Welsh line from promising positions on both sides of the field.

But England were unable to cross the whitewash; with some firm defence denying them on each attempt.

On the 25th minute, England’s Alex Coles was shown yellow for a deliberate knock on, but Thomas was unable to convert three points from the resulting penalty.

Moments before half-time, Wales extended their lead to 14 points, as the video referee decided prop Mathias’ surge over the line from a maul had resulted in a touch down. The extras from Thomas were successful.

The two teams tussled for ascendancy early in the second stanza, and England were close to narrowing the gap if not for a knock on metres short of the Welsh line.

It took until the 67th minute for England to get on the score sheet, through Capon, who powered over the line after a sustained attacking period. Redpath added the extras.

Moments later, a counter-attack saw England break down field where they found themselves just shy of the Welsh line, Capon picked from the base of a ruck and bundled over for his second. But the kick for the draw was wide.

Reflection
“We got up there in the first half but just didn’t execute at the very end and that’s what you have to do at this level, execute all the chances you get,” said Redpath.

“In the second half we brought it back, they didn’t score a point in the second half which was nice to see, a tough game, hats off to the Welsh.

“We’ve learnt a lot from these two games, now we have to bring it to South Africa Schools to get a win. We have a very good chance so we’re all looking forward to that.”

England U18 that faced Wales:

Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, St Paul’s School), Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close School), Cadan Murley (Harlequins, Bishop Wordsworth’s School), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School), Tom de Glanville  (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff School), Kieran Wilkinson  (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie , New College Pontefract), Tom Willis (capt) (Wasps, The Henley College), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby, St Peter’s High School), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College), Alex Coles Northampton Saints, The Perse School), Josh Basham London Irish, Wellington College), Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors, Warwick School), Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors, Bromsgrove School), George Head  (Harlequins, Tonbridge School).

Replacements: Tom Rowland  (Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar School), Will Capon (Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar School), Joe Heyes  (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College), James Scott (Worcester Warriors, Malvern College), Sam Moore  (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School), Will Porter  (Wasps, Merchant Taylors’ School), Sam Spink (Wasps, Wellington College), Nick David Worcester Warriors, Warwick School).

Results & fixtures

Friday 11 August: England U18 24-8 France  – Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch (1.15pm BST).

Tuesday 15 August: England U18 12-14 Wales – Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl (1.15pm BST)

Saturday 19 August: England U18 v SA Schools – City Park, Athlone (1pm BST)