- Saxons fightback to take win
- Result means Saxons win the series 2-0
SOUTH AFRICA A 26 - 29 ENGLAND SAXONS
England Saxons secured a 2-0 series win over South Africa A after a thrilling comeback to snatch a 26-29 win in George.
The hosts enjoyed the best of the first half action with tries from Jean-Luc du Preez and Sergeal Petersen giving them a 12-8 lead at the break. The Saxons' score came from Tommy Taylor following a rolling maul.
South Africa A increased the pressure at the start of the second half with two quick scores from Petersen and centre Francois Venter extending the lead to 26-8.
However, the Saxons fightback began immediately with Taylor adding another before Kvesic crossed to bring the Saxons within four points with 25 minutes still left to play.
With four minutes left, wing Christian Wade dived over following a period of huge pressure from the England pack. Danny Cipriani added the extras to give the visitors the lead for the first time.
The Saxons saw the final few minutes out to secure a fantastic series win.
The home side made 10 changes to their starting team as they looked to make amends for last week’s loss – and the changes made an instant impact. South Africa A started the game with great pace and verve enjoying almost 80% of possession in the first ten minutes.
Back row forward Jean-Luc du Preez muscled over for a try and they should have been further ahead in the opening period but for Francois Brummer missing the conversion and two penalties.
South Africa A wing Sergeal Petersen proved a constant threat. He combined beautifully with his Cheetahs teammate Francois Venter to score two tries of his own either side of half-time.
The two were almost carbon copies with Petersen leaving his wing to take inside passes off centre Venter.
Petersen then pounced on a loose ball and nudged through for Venter to score.
ROLLING, ROLLING, ROLLING
Without the same level of possession as last week, the Saxons relied on the power of their rolling maul at lineout time. Hooker Tommy Taylor was the main beneficiary as he steered the pack over for two tries in the match. The second hauled the Saxons straight back into a match that looked to be slipping away from them at 26-8 down.
Facing down a 26-8 deficit in the final game of the season, the Saxons dug deep to secure a thrilling comeback victory. The charge was led by the experienced players with captain Dave Attwood pulling the strings at the lineout, Kvesic leading the defensive line and Cipriani controlling territory.
What's it like to win a series in South Africa then boys? pic.twitter.com/HfxazvrXa9— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 17, 2016
Saxons Head Coach Ali Hepher said: "I am just chuffed to bits for the guys, they really put it in out there. They fought hard for each other and that is what we needed when we were in a pretty dark position.
"The character that came through just shows how much they want to play for their country."
Hepher praised the character shown in getting back into the game. "We knew there ways to win the game. The maul was the way to win the game and we did that. We started winning collisions and being aggressive in our defence."
He added: "It is important for their careers. They have shown positive things to Eddie. They have put their hand up. They need to take that forward and put that into their Premiership teams.
"They are not a long way off interational rugby and it should be quite exciting for them."
Double try scorer Taylor said: "To get a series win in the southern hemisphere is fantastic. I'll remember this for the rest of my career.
"It's been a great trip with a great bunch of lads and we've all been really tight."