Despite a solid start by Oakdale Landbou on the first day of the World Schools Festival in Thailand, they had to dig deep to get over the line against their Welsh challengers, Cardiff & Vale.
Kurt Coetzee converted a difficult penalty within the first minute, which would ultimately prove crucial, as neither team managed to get a firm hold over the match.
A try by their Grant Khomo loosehead, Kai Pratt, swung the momentum in favour of the South Africans before a penalty try helped the Welsh team reduce the deficit before halftime after a period of sustained pressure on the Oakdale try line.
Dewald Jonck then finished off one of the best tries of the day as Oakdale returned a wayward clearance kick by the Welsh flyhalf, Tom Hughes.
The second half was a tense affair, with both teams doing their best to keep each other within arm’s length. The only try after the break came through Cardiff & Vale’s hooker, Ellis Richards, and Hughes slotted the conversion to get his team within five points of victory with 20 minutes left to play.
This is the second year the team from Wales’ campaign has ended at the hands of South Africans, last year they lost against Grey College by 14-11 on Day Two.
The Rugby Travel Academy came up short against the Irish powerhouse, St Michael’s by 35-12. Many of these boys were in action on the first day of the Open competition as well, where RTA has two teams competing.
As it stands, Oakdale and EG Jansen have progressed to the semi-finals on Friday, where they will have to deal with the Irish and the Kiwis.
Even though Westlake Boys were unable to break the deadlock against Hartpury College, they showed their potential with two great tries in the final ten minutes to book their spot in the penultimate round.
There is no doubt about the dangers St Michael’s holds, as they proved when their contingent of junior Irish international and regional representatives showed their class against the RTA Invitational team today.
The action continues with the Open and Girls Sevens on Thursday, before the Cup competition resumes on Friday.
Oakdale Landbou 18 (18) – Tries: Kai Pratt, Dewald Jonck. Conversions: Kurt Coetzee. Penalty: Kurt Coetzee (2). Cardiff & Vale 14 (7) – Tries: Penalty Try, Ellis Richards. Conversion: Tom Hughes.
St Michael’s 35 (20) – Tries: Duinn Maguire (2), Dylan McNiece, Dan Ryan: Joe Quigley (6). Penalty: Quigley (3). Rugby Travel Academy 12 (7) – Tries: Rigert Klok, Kian du Plessis Conversions: Jayden de Leeuw