England U18 were beaten 14-12 by Wales in the second game of their development tour at Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl, South Africa.
U18s forwards coach Peter Walton analyses the game and looks ahead to the final match of the tour against South Africa Schools on Saturday.
How would you sum up the game overall?
“It was definitely a game of two halves.
“The first half we weren’t at the races really, especially around the breakdown and they had better field position. I thought they tactically kicked better than we did and around the tackle area they were getting two guys in and that caused us problems. The conditions were tough, but we play in those conditions as home and they deserved the win.”
Trailing 14-0 at half-time they almost pulled off a great comeback, didn’t they?
“It’s a credit to the lads that they stuck at it and almost got the draw at the end. We lost Capstick early on which was a big loss to us as he was running our lineout. Both teams struggled to secure possession from the lineout.
“We came back and showed a lot of character and had a kick to get a draw, however we didn’t play well enough today. I thought that they deserved to win."
These games aren’t all about results, are they, development and learning is hugely important also. What do you think the players would have learned from the experience?
“This will be a big learning curve for the players. We learned more in defeat against Wales earlier in the season than we did by beating anyone else.
“We’ll learn loads from it especially how to manage a game a bit better in wet conditions; we also learn a lot about the players.
“There are a few players such as Aaron Hinkley and Tom Willis who played well in the wet conditions. It’s about learning at this level.
“We had chances in that first half but we didn’t take them and they did. We could have been level at half-time, however we weren’t and we had a hard battle in the second half as a result.”
What will the players be working on now over the next few days?
“We come over here to play three games. Everyone gets a start in the first couple of games and then we select a side we think will beat South Africa and that is what we are here to do.”
What sort of challenge will South Africa Schools pose?
“South Africa will be a big challenge, we have a few injuries. The players will recover, do their own analysis and see how we can get better and then we’ll turn our attention towards playing South Africa.”
(photo credit - David Spink photography)