England Saxons overturn 18-point deficit to overcome South Africa ‘A’ 29-26 in George
Tries from Jean-Luc du Preez, Sergeal Petersen and Francois Venter gave South Africa a 26-8 lead after 46 minutes
Tommy Taylor’s brace combined with scores from Matt Kvesic and Christian Wade guided the Saxons to victory
The England Saxons completed a series triumph as they remarkably overturned an 18 point deficit to overcome South Africa ‘A’ at Outeniqua Park in George.
This was the second match between these two sides, Saxons were victorious in the first game when they held out for a 32-24 win in Bloemfontein last week Friday. This week, however, the South Africa ‘A’ side certainly put up a much improved overall performance.
Fly-half Danny Cipriani’s fine form off the tee continued from last Friday’s performance, which saw the Wasps-bound pivot succeed with five from six, while this week his kicking accuracy was the difference in the end for the visitors as he managed to convert three tries and the ultimate match winning penalty from his five attempts, only missing Tommy Taylor’s first try.
The hosts had started the game the dominant side with Jean-Luc du Preez’s try giving them an early five-point lead.
England rallied and took a narrow 8-5 lead compliments of a Taylor try and a Cipriani penalty, however, Sergeal Petersen’s score on the brink of the break gave the South Africans a 12-8 lead after an entertaining opening 40.
After the break South Africa ran wild with Petersen and Francois Venter both running in tries within six minutes of the restart, giving the hosts an impressive 26-8 lead.
Nevertheless, again the Saxons fought back with Taylor adding a second before Matt Kvesic crossed over the whitewash. Cipriani converted both tries to narrow the gap to just four points with 24 minutes to go.
Wasps winger Christian Wade then dived over with four minutes to go, securing the series triumph and the win before Cipriani converted to complete the scoring, 29-26.
Following their 32-24 defeat in Bloemfontein a week ago, South Africa began with the impetus as Jean-Luc du Preez’s try give the hosts an early lead. The home side stole the ball at the lineout thanks to RG Snyman before the flanker eventually picked it up from the base of the ruck and crashed over from close range. Francois Brummer, who earlier missed a penalty, was off target again as he sent the conversion wide, 5-0.
The Saxons, who were put under immense pressure for the first 20 minutes, were able to get onto the scoreboard just shy of the half-hour when Danny Cipriani slotted a penalty from in front of the posts, narrowing the deficit to just two points.
Tommy Taylor then gave his side the lead when he crashed over on the back of a driving maul after 36 minutes. Cipriani this time though was not able to add the extra two points, dragging his attempted conversion wide of the mark, 5-8.
South Africa though would go into the break ahead as winger Sergeal Petersen slips in to score the hosts second try seconds before the clock hit 40. And this time, Brummer was on target, meaning the hosts took a deserved 12-8 lead into half-time.
Petersen and Francois Venter both ran in tries in the opening six minutes of the second half as South Africa looked to pull away. And fullback Leolin Zas added the first conversion before Brummer added the second to open up a monumental 18-point lead for the hosts.
The Saxons made an instant reply as Taylor wrestled over for his second after 48 minutes, again crashing over from the back of the rolling maul. Cipriani then added the conversion, 26-15.
And the visitors continued their thrilling comeback eight minutes later when Gloucester flanker Matt Kvesic gathered the ball from the ruck to crash over. Cipriani again converted as the Saxons turned an 18 point deficit to just four in ten minutes, 26-22.
South Africa ‘A’: 15 Leolin Zas, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Lukhanyo Am, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Travis Ismaiel
England Saxons: 15 Mike Haley 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Don Armand, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Dave Ewers, 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 Sam Jones, 21 Micky Young, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Sam James
Date: Friday, June 17
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Egon Seconds (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)