The Maties team, which is preparing for the Varsity Cup, beat the South African Under-20 team, which is preparing for the Junior World Championship, 26-17 at the Markötter Sports Ground in Stellenbosch on Wednesday morning.
The Maties lead 12-7 at half-time. The Stellenbosch students scored four times, including a penalty try, and were successful with three conversions, while the SA Under-20 training squad scored three tries and slotted a conversion.
The match was played in near perfect weather conditions and in front of a few hundred spectators.
The Maties’ greater experience ultimately saw them safely home in an absorbing and entertaining tussle. They dominated the opening 20 minutes, but the SA Under-20 squad got better as the match progressed and produced their best spell of the match either side of half-time.
SA Under-20 coach, Dawie Theron, and his assistant coaches, Nazeem Adams and Brendan Venter, would have been pleased with their team’s defensive efforts just after half-time, when they prevented Maties from scoring at least three times after absorbing a lot of pressure from the students.
Theron lamented the fact that his charges created a lot of opportunities, but failed to convert their chances into points, saying: “Maties started off very well and we were a bit shell shocked at the beginning, but the boys grew into the game and as a result created a lot of chances.
“Apart from scoring three times, I think we wasted at least seven more opportunities to score. But this strenuous workout against Maties was exactly what we needed.
“A lot of our boys are still Under-18 and Under-19 and it was good for them to be exposed to that kind of pressure. Our aim was to keep to our structures and I think we contested much harder for the ball as the game progressed.
“The boys learnt today that they have to focus and play for the entire 80 minutes, something that we would need to do during the Junior World Championship in France. From that aspect, I would say it a very good exercise today."
The squad’s third and last training match is on Saturday at 16.00 against UCT at Brookside, the home of Villager Football Club in Claremont. That will conclude their first camp of 2012.
Tries: Neethling Gericke (hooker), Reniel Hugo (lock), Johnny Kotze (centre), penalty try.
Cons: JH Potgieter (flyhalf), Dean Grant (flyhalf) 2
For SA Under-20 Training Squad :
Tries: Jacques du Plessis (flank), Tim Swiel (fullback), JP Lewis (left wing).
Con: Handré Pollard.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
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