England held on for a 32-24 win against South Africa ‘A’ on Friday
Tries from Alec Hepburn, Semese Rokoduguni, and Dan Robson gave the Saxons a convincing 22-3 lead at the break
South Africa fought back after the break with tries from Francois Brummer, Piet van Zyl and Sikhumbuzo Notshe
Ollie Devoto dived over for a try late on to secure the win for England
England Saxons survived a second-half fightback from South Africa ‘A’ to claim a narrow victory in Bloemfontein on Friday evening.
A monster penalty from Garth April gave South Africa an early lead, but Exeter Chiefs Alec Hepburn try, converted by Danny Cipriani, gave the tourists a 7-3 lead following a highly competitive opening 20 minutes.
Superb try from Bath winger @rocco3225 for the England Saxons against South Africa A.
Via – RugbyVids pic.twitter.com/bkhxKYIYL1
— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) June 10, 2016
The Wasps number 10 added another three points from the tee before converting the Saxons second try as Bath Rugby winger Semesa Rokoduguni got on the end of his own chip to touch down on the half hour mark.
Scrum-half Dan Robson from Wasps then scored an exceptional solo try as he weaved through the South Africa defence to touch down after 33 minutes. Cipriani this time though couldn’t convert, but England led comfortably 22-3 lead at the break.
The hosts fought back after the restart as replacement fly-half Francois Brummer touched down with his first touch after 50 minutes before converting to cut the deficit to just 12 points.
Cipriani soon after took his tally to ten with another penalty but South Africa’s second half revival continued when replacement scrum-half Piet van Zyl sniped over from close range after 63 minutes. Brummer then converted to close the gap to eight points, 17-25.
With ten minutes to go, it was certainly game on as back-rower Sikhumbuzo Notshe powered through Cipriani for the hosts third try of a much-improved second half. Brummer then added the extras to bring South Africa back within a point.
The versatile Ollie Devoto though was on hand to secure the win with just a minute left on the clock. Cipriani then completed the scoring with a confidently struck conversion, 24-32.
South Africa ‘A’: 15 Leolin Zas, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Garth April, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Lukhanyo Am
England Saxons: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Semesa Rokoduguni, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Don Armand, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Dave Attwood (c), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Micky Young, 22 Sam James, 23 Christian Wade
Date: Friday, June 10
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Jaco Kotze (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)