Matty Henson (2), Charlie Tomlinson, Connor Ratcliffe, Joey Brady, Dom Wear
Tommy Joubert 0/1
Dom Wear 3/5, Matty Henson 1/1
YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE MATCH
A welcome thundershower minutes before kickoff managed to bring the temperatures down from the upper thirties on the eve of the first test match between the Lions Youth Team and the SARL Youth Team. The SARL Team had a lot of exciting and young talent in, with some players only having played league for a few months after being introduced to the game through one of SARL’s outreach programs. The Lions squad was a lot more experienced, but also a new team in terms of matches played together. Add in the stifling heat and the high altitude (more than 4900 feet above sea level) and a strong contact was expected.
The game started with pace, and after several sets up and down the field, the Lions struck first after 8 minutes with captain Matty Henson going over. Dom Wear converted comfortable and the Lions were on the scoreboard. South Africa struck back early and Gerhard Henning went over for an unconverted try. For the next 15 minutes both teams attacked the oppositions line but errors caused possession to be lost time and time again. After a long drive up the middle, Charlie Tomlinson broke away from the defense and scored a magnificent try, easily converted by Dom Wear.
With 12 points to 4 in the lead, the Lions had to hold on as the South Africans attacked with vigor. A yellow card cost South Africa a man and the Lions used this to their advantage, sending Connor Ratcliffe over just before the end of the half. The conversion attempt went wide and the Lions led by 16 points to 4 going into halftime.
The second half started with pace and within minutes Joey Brady went over for an unconverted try. The next 15 minutes saw the teams attack with the ball changing hands several times. The South African team looked more aggressive and camped on the English try line but could just not convert possession into points. Dom Wear finally broke away and ran in a brilliant try which he converted himself, taking the score to 26 points for the Lions. This was the game breaker as the SARL Youth Squad struggled to get their rhythm afterwards, and the Lions were rewarded for their continued pressure with a final try by Matty Henson which he also converted. The game ended with 32 points for the Lions, and the one unconverted try by the Rhino Youth Team.
SOUTH AFRICA YOUTH
Jason Makhari, Marius Herbst, Esje Esterhuise, Alrich Swanepoel, Christian Ambadiang, Esje Pierpoor, Tommy Joubert, Anrich Du Plessis, Codi Meyers, Christian Lewes, Henry Badenhorst, Gerhard Henning, Dwayne Botma. Subs: Nathan Nel, Craig Vermook, Cory van Rooyen, Jean Pierre Steyn
ENGLISH LIONS YOUTH
Tyler Spence, Joey Brady, Chester Butler, Callum King, Niall Allen, Josh Greenwood, Dom Wear, Dan Fryer, Matty Henson, Jed Carter, Connor Ratcliffe, Mark Nicholson, Charlie Tomlinson. Subs: Greg Howland, Lewis Price, Jack Hazlewood, Adam Wilkes